Sadly, Ross Douthat is more of a quality over quantity kind of a blogger, so his post graciously responding to my lame hectoring won't be pushed from near the top of his blog for some time. Embarrassingly enough. In my defense, Ross lightly edited the email and removed what might be seen as more substantive questions about his responses to Jacob Weisberg.
Oh well. I've got no one to blame but myself!
Here's my question-- isn't the problem with expanding the franchise of marriage through increased number of births and marriages that there will be more weak marriages and divorce, particularly if people feel compelled to marry out of obligation to a child instead of out of love and a strong set of "marriage fundamentals"? It seems to me that the problem with a shotgun wedding isn't just that the implied coercion makes a mockery of marriages ideals, but that you're setting up a marriage for failure when it's started in that spirit. Ross is pro-fecundity, and fair enough. And he wants that increased fecundity to come with an attendant rise in marriages. Those are consistent positions. But what I wonder is whether those things are good for the institution of marriage; to me, more damage is done to marriage through people getting married and divorcing than by people not marrying at all. And I know Ross is deeply invested in the institution of marriage, so I wonder if he's considered these consequences.