The Public Interest

The end of courtship

Leon R. Kass

Winter 1997

IN the current wars over the state of American culture, few battlegrounds have seen more action than that of “family values”—sex, marriage, and childrearing.  Passions run high about sexual harassment, condom distribution in schools, pornography, abortion, gay marriage, and other efforts to alter the definition of “a family.” Many people are distressed over the record-high rates of divorce, illegitimacy, teenage pregnancy, marital infidelity, and premarital promiscuity. On some issues, there is even an emerging consensus that something is drastically wrong: Though they may differ on what is to be done, people on both the left and the right have come to regard the break-up of marriage as a leading cause of the neglect, indeed, of the psychic and moral maiming, of America’s children.

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