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Examining the Marriage Movement: A Loose Coalition of Marriage-Related Interests and Agendas, or a Cohesive Force for Social Change? A Modified Delphi Study.

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Dodini, Alfred Charles.
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The Delphi Method was used to examine the Marriage Movement with the goal of identifying areas of consensus as well as areas of disagreement among experts within the Marriage Movement regarding: (1) its philosophical foundation, (2) the goals of the movement, (3) how best to accomplish those goals through various policy initiatives, and (4) what they consider to represent the greatest threats to accomplishing these goals and to the future stability and integrity of the institution of marriage in general. Four open-ended questions were posed in Delphi I to leaders within the Marriage Movement who have participated in some aspect of the movement in a significant way at the state and/or national level. Delphi II asked the 42 panel members to rank the 169 items generated from Delphi I on a seven-point Likert scale. The Delphi III round of the study consisted of telephone interviews with seven selected panel members to further explore the responses to Delphi II. A profile of the Marriage Movement was compiled based on median scores and interquartile ranges. A typology of contemporary ideologies about marriage developed by Doherty & Carroll (2002) was used to examine the responses and to determine whether panel members generally take a noncritical promarriage, neutral/skeptical, or critical promarriage stance with regard to the four categories listed above. The Marriage Movement was identified as a diverse group that supports both noncritical promarriage and critical promarriages ideological stances in the four areas examined. While being a somewhat loose coalition of individuals with various marriage-related concerns, the Marriage Movement appears to be a social movement gaining momentum. As has been the case with other social movements of the past, the potential exists for splintering within the movement over some of the controversial marriage-related issues currently facing the nation and the world. The future direction of the Marriage Movement is discussed as well as directions for future research. (Author abstract)