The Abolition of Marriage,
by Maggie Gallagher


The one book I know of that deals with the arguments for and against restricting no-fault divorce. Tackles the statistics on divorce and explains what they mean and what they don't mean. Ms. Gallagher is like the Harriett Beecher Stowe of divorce.

Summary, Review, Book Order Form and Table of Contents

Summary and Excerpts in Policy Review

Review, with powerfully written summary, by Kari Jenson Gold in First Things 65 (August/September 1996): 45-48

Quotations from Abolition of Marriage: Marital Conflict and Divorce | Divorce and the Black Community | Whether modernity makes divorce inevitable | (This selection does not include the many quotations in which she merely reports the results of others' research.)

Review in Policy Review: The Journal of American Citizenship, May-June 1996, Number 77
"Drumbeats for Divorce Reform" by Elizabeth Schoenfeld:

The Abolition of Marriage

Maggie Gallagher, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for
American Values, says in her upcoming book The Abolition of Marriage
that we have falsely framed the divorce debate as "one between choice
and coercion, individual liberty and state control. . . . The bad
marriage haunts us in part because we have reduced the marriage
commitment to a single, grim, frightening phrase: Couples should 'stay
together for the sake of the children.' The vision it conjures -- of
loveless, bitter, tight-lipped martyrs living in hell with their equally
miserable kids -- is impossible to uphold as a moral ideal. . . ."

"'You can't force two people to stay married,' we tell
ourselves and turn the page," she writes. "Divorce, however, is not
usually the act of a couple, but of an individual. Eighty percent of
divorces in this country are unilateral, rather than truly mutual,
decisions. Rather, the divorce revolution can be more accurately
described as a shift of power, favoring the interests of one party over
others: the interests of the spouse who wishes to leave over those of
the spouse who is being abandoned and over those of the children whose consent is not sought."

Her research about the state of marriage leads her to conclude,
"Reforming no-fault divorce is more than a tactical necessity.
Simple decency requires that the law retreat from relentlessly favoring
the spouse who leaves in no-fault divorces and place some minimal power
back into the hands of the spouse who is being left. Imposing a five- to
seven-year waiting period for contested no-fault divorces (as do many
European jurisdictions) would serve the ends of both justice and
prudence: raising the number of marriages that ultimately succeed, while
at the very least ensuring that those who want a quick and easy divorce
will have to negotiate with their marriage partner in order to get it."

The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love is being published by Regnery Publishing (Washington, D.C.).

Elizabeth Schoenfeld is a contributing editor of Policy Review: The Journal of American Citizenship.
(used by permission)

Summary, Review, Book Order Form and Table of Contents

Summary and Excerpts in Policy Review

Other Divorce Information: Legislation | Statistics | Articles/Opinion | Quotations | Polls | Other family-related articles


Originally posted and maintained by Americans for Divorce Reform; now maintained by John Crouch. You can call me at (703) 528-6700 or e-mail me through my law office's web site.