Former State Sen. Dave Schultheis was never particularly vague in his beliefs about unwed mothers (famously “wishing that they would get AIDS“) or the evils of gay marriage, which is why were particularly interested to see this recent Facebook page from the great foot-in-mouth Senator.
If you follow the link, it takes you to a new report called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing” from the Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the Georgia Family Council and Familes Northwest. The point of the paper is to show all you unwed heathens out there that you are costing American taxpayers a lot of money with your free-spirited ways:
Why should legislators and policymakers care about marriage? Public debate on marriage in this country has focused on the “social costs” of family fragmentation (that is, divorce and unwed childbearing), and research suggests that these are indeed extensive. But marriage is more than a moral or social institution; it is also an economic one, a generator of social and human capital, especially when it comes to children.
Research on family structure suggests a variety of mechanisms, or processes, through which marriage may reduce the need for costly social programs. In this study, we adopt the simplifying and extremely cautious assumption that all of the taxpayer costs of divorce and unmarried childbearing stem from the effects that family fragmentation has on poverty, a causal mechanism that is well-accepted and has been reasonably well-quantified in the literature.
Based on the methodology, we estimate that family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion each and every year, or more than $1 trillion each decade…
…If, as research suggests is likely, marriage has additional benefits to children, adults, and communities, and if those benefits are in areas other than increased income levels, then the actual taxpayer costs of divorce and unwed childbearing are likely much higher. [Pols emphasis]
Those are certainly some interesting conclusions, which lead us to another obvious question: Given the economic and societal benefits of marriage, shouldn’t Schultheis and his family-parading friends actually support gay marriage rather than oppose it vehemently? If marriage “has additional benefits to children, adults and communities” beyond just economic benefits, then shouldn’t they be advocating strongly in favor of gay marriage?
As far as we can tell, the report doesn’t define “marriage” in any specific manner, making this part all the more important:
We note that even very small increases in stable marriage rates as a result of government programs or community efforts to strengthen marriage would result in very large savings for taxpayers.
So, there you have it, kids. Gay marriage = taxpayer savings.
Wait…was that not what you meant to say, Dave?