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Is Marriage an "Outdated Institution"?

12:15 PM, Jul 14, 2008 • By RICHARD STARR
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There was a good piece in the Chicago Sun-Times over the weekend on the Barack and Michelle Obama love story. The romance, as we've read before, began in 1988 when Obama, then at law school, had a summer internship at Sidley Austin law firm, where Michelle was the young attorney assigned to be his mentor. They were married by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named four years later at Trinity United Church of Christ. Why the long courtship? This part we hadn't read before:

It took two years for Obama to finally propose. Though she knew he didn't fear commitment, Michelle had become a bit irritated with his struggle over whether marriage had become an outdated institution.

We can totally sympathize with Michelle's irritation. Barack Obama is not exactly a baby-boomer. He likes to brag that he was only 8 years old in the late 1960s when his neighborhood friend Bill Ayers was setting bombs. And of course the late 1960s was also the high-water mark for radical doubts about bourgeois mating habits such as matrimony. Wasn't it a little, um, outdated, to be doubting the institution of marriage in the early 1990s?