OKLAHOMA CITY – With Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, state lawmakers declared the importance of marriage to a stable Oklahoma last week, issuing a formal citation observing “Marriage Week” in the state.
Rep. Mark McCullough R-Sapulpa
“There is simply no denying that stable marriages and intact families contribute greatly to our state, both culturally and financially,” said state Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa. “When families fragment, the repercussions are extensive and cost Oklahoma taxpayers more than $400 million annually. But the benefits of healthy marriages go far beyond fiscal impact; they improve quality of life and social cohesion in our state. That’s why it is so important to celebrate the institution of marriage and to hold up successful marriages as a model.”
In a citation, lawmakers declared the week of Feb. 6 to be “Marriage Week.” The citation declares that members of the Oklahoma Legislature “wish to express their support to the institution of marriage and to those married and soon to be married couples who have promised, before God, to dedicate themselves ... to a lifetime of love and commitment to one another.”
McCullough and state Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa) authored the citation in conjunction with National Marriage Week.
One study, “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing,” conservatively estimates the impact of divorce on state government (largely through public assistance programs) to be $430 million annually in Oklahoma.
Research shows children from broken homes are 12 times more likely to be incarcerated, seven times more likely to live in poverty and three times more likely to be expelled and receive lower grades. They also are more susceptible to substance abuse and mental health disorders, McCullough noted.
“Family disintegration is at the root of many challenges facing our state today, and healthy marriages are the foundation for preventing and resolving many of those problems,” McCullough said. “Our job as lawmakers is to foster a policy environment in Oklahoma that supports healthy families and helps those teetering on the brink from falling apart as much as possible.”