Chicken-Fried News: Repeat listen 

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Remember the popular playground song that involved spelling “kissing?”

First comes love,

then comes marriage,

then comes baby

in a baby carriage!

Well, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia reports Oklahomans have added another verse about divorce. W. Bradford Wilcox told NewsOK.com that Oklahoma ranked 38th in the nation for its share of children being raised by married parents. Sixty-six percent of children live in households headed by married couples.

Wilcox said families headed by married parents see “higher levels of economic growth, family median income and less child poverty, compared with states with fewer married-parent families.”

That’s easy enough to grasp. So how can Oklahomans influence Oklahomans to marry, stay married or wait until marriage for starting a family?

Well, Gov. Frank Keating signed the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative into law in 1999. The measure aimed to reduce the divorce rate and societal costs associated with it. About $74 million later, some, including Wilcox, believe the program is working.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports that 20,309 divorce decrees were issued in 2000, compared to 17,227 in 2013.

Others, like Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Colgate, debate the program’s effectiveness. The two authored Senate Bill 915 to review the effectiveness of the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. The original proposal called for cutting funding altogether.

We get its a tough budget year, but how about a public awareness campaign about marriage? Lawmakers could sing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song.

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