Lost in the never-ending push to redefine marriage are those who suffer most when they are denied the benefit of a traditional marriage. Children need both a mother and a father far more than any adult needs societal approval of a romantic relationship. And although American children may, for the most part, have food, shelter and education, too many are denied this most basic need. According to the most recent US Census, a third of American children live apart from their biological fathers. For African American children, it is nearly two thirds.
I have written a great deal, along with many others, about the terrible consequences of father abandonment for children. Children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to be poor, use drugs, commit crimes, drop out of school and commit suicide. But behind these statistics are millions of individual human stories of intense pain. The marriage debate has become so focused on the desires and demands of various groups of adults that we have forgotten the legitimate needs and terrible suffering of children.