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Marriage of Convenience

How the New York Times got the president's marriage initiative wrong.

11:00 PM, Feb 17, 2004 • By CLAUDIA WINKLER
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WHAT THE WEBSITE CAN'T CONVEY is the personal commitment of those invested in the project of helping people form and sustain healthy marriages, from the intellectuals to the workers in the trenches. To take just one of yesterday's varied cast of speakers, Marline E. Pearson (a self-identified "liberal Democrat and feminist") teaches relationship skills at Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin. "I bristle when I read that this is going to push people into bad relationships," she said, noting that bad relationships are already commonplace. "I have spent my whole life in domestic-violence prevention. Our training aims at helping people develop good interactions and recognize bad ones and exit them, then go back and repair them. How do two people keep their friendship going over years?"

It's fair to insist that such preventive training be tested for effectiveness, and it's reasonable to debate whether it should be part of public assistance to young single mothers. What seems a loss all round is for the conversation to be derailed by innuendo and misrepresentation.

Claudia Winkler is a managing editor at The Weekly Standard.