Entries by William C. Duncan

The research so far: Mom + Dad still best for kids

In past decades, a large body of research has developed focused on the question of what family structures are most likely to promote child well-being. The basic consensus — based on comparisons of children raised by married biological parents, single parents, divorced parents, stepparents, etc. — is that children fare best, on average, when raised […]

A right to discriminate?

A common accusation made by those who oppose robust protections for religious liberty is that proponents are seeking a “right to discriminate.” The common form this argument takes is that religious liberty is already protected (say, by the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting […]

How marriage law has shifted in 35 years

In many family law textbooks, two cases from the 1970s are juxtaposed. The first is a 1976 California decision, Marvin v. Marvin, in which the California Supreme Court considered a claim by a woman who had cohabited with a celebrity (during part of the time of their cohabitation he was married to another woman) that […]

How complex regulations give big corporations the upper hand – Sutherland Soapbox, 1/20/15

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations. The podcast can be found at the bottom of this post. Recently I came across a complaint about corporate involvement in politics. The complaint initially rankled, probably because a corporation is really just an organized body of individuals, […]

Regrettable words and the ethics of tale-bearing

Recently, the news reported some comments from a well-known, and by all accounts, generous and philanthropic individual in the state, of an unfortunate and ad hominem nature about a prominent politician. Such comments are, of course, always regrettable. What could explain them? We have to admit that we don’t know. It could be a regrettable […]

Arranged marriage

Today, the law of Utah says that marriage is an association of a man and a woman, or a man and another man, or a woman and another woman. Not, however, because a massive cultural change in the state led a majority of Utahns to decide that marriage should be a way for the government […]

Marriage: a cornerstone, not a luxury good — Sutherland Soapbox, 12/16/14

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations. The podcast can be found at the bottom of this post. Prominent sociologist Andrew Cherlin had an interesting piece in the New York Times this weekend about the much-observed correlation between social class and marriage rates (professionals tend […]

Parents’ rights: Integrating rights and responsibilities

The U.S. Constitution is understood to protect the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their children, free from state interference. That formulation derives from a pair of cases from the 1920s involving disputes over education. In Meyer v. Nebraska, the Supreme Court invalidated a Nebraska law that prohibited instruction in schools from being […]