The popular understanding of the role government plays in marriage is generally limited to two functions performed by state governments: granting marriage licenses and issuing divorce decrees. Beyond that, the widespread assumption has been that marriage is a private issue, best left to individuals, couples, and perhaps religious institutions. However, in the past decade, leaders at the national, state, and local levels have looked at expanding the role of government in marriage, reflecting, in part, rising concern by policymakers and the public alike about the apparent negative effects of single parenthood on children. This report is the first to provide a state-by-state snapshot of activities begun since the mid-1990s that are explicitly designed to strengthen and promote marriage and to reduce divorce and that involve some level of government as a sponsor, funder, or otherwise active partner. In addition, the report includes activities designed to promote cooperative relationships between parents who are not married. (Author abstract modified)
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Beyond marriage licenses : efforts in States to strengthen marriage and two-parent families : a State-by-State snapshot.