Get hitched and get rich. Say “I do” and the money will roll right in. At least that’s the impression one might get from Gov. Mary Fallin and state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, both of whom trumpeted a recently signed law designed to promote marriage to counter various social ills.
House Bill 1908 provides for a statewide public service campaign to promote marriage that, in turn, ostensibly would curb poverty. According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, marriage reduces the chances of child poverty by 80 percent.
“Countless studies have shown a stable, two-parent household is important for the growth and stability of children,” said Shannon, the chief author of HB 1908.
“And the economic results are striking — child poverty rates shoot through the roof when marriages end.”
But staying married might be problematic in a state where roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, a phenomenon that often sends adults and their children into a downward spiral that can often result in needing government assistance.
Moreover, marriage might not be much of a solution to child poverty. Just look at 2012 stats from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which show more than 7 million married, non-elderly adults have below-poverty incomes.
In addition, 43 percent of parents living below the poverty line and caring for minor children are married.
And consider this: Among prime-age (30-49 years old) parents living below the poverty line and caring for minor children, 60 percent are married.
Oklahoma will fund its pro-marriage ad campaign by using $10 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.