OTTAWA – The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada's (IMFC) new executive director says the think tank's next project will examine the strength of marriage among middle class Canadians.
"If marriage has declined in the middle class, it could be contributing factor for an indicator for other things in our society, such as a declining economy," said Andrea Mrozek.
Mrozek, the institute's former director of research, takes over from Dave Quist as executive director.
The institute focuses on research, not advocacy, but good information based on the numbers could play a role in public policy, she said. Economic stability and cultural stability are "primarily dependent on the family."
The research might show areas where society might want to take a look at strengthening marriage, she said.
The IMFC also looks at the damage that changing laws, such as no-fault divorce, have done to marriage and the family.
"The state has done a lot of damage to marriage. In a step-by-step manner, they've taken the institution of marriage and dismantled it almost beyond repair," Mrozek said.
"Opening up marriage and taking away the lifelong element was one of the key things that damaged the institution of marriage," she said, noting laws have made cohabitation the same as marriage in every province except Quebec.
The state is "undermining marriage, destroying it as a social institution." When same-sex marriage was introduced, changing the definition of the family, we empowered "the state to wield more power over us."
Studies in the United States show a growing gap on a range of outcomes depending on whether a family is headed by a married couple.
Mrozek said middle and upper classes still marry, stay married and have children, while working class and poor Americans are having more babies out of wedlock, with serious disadvantages for their children. This is contributing to gaps in income and education, essentially forcing those in lower social classes into a "caste" out of which it is difficult to rise.