At least within U.S. political culture, conservatives have long been styled as the stalwart defenders of the traditional, simple, get-married-before-having-kids approach to, well, getting married and having kids.
That, sadly, appears to no longer be the case:
[The percentage] of U.S. conservatives who say it is "very important" that couples with children together legally marry:
2006: 62 percent
2020: 41 percent
If you are a conservative who thinks people should get married if they have kids, you are not representative
Those numbers are reflective of a broader slide in U.S. opinions on marriage and childbirth:
Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is "very important" for couples who have children together to be married. Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006.
But the fact that the decline has been so sharp among conservatives—a full 33%—is even more telling. It shows that the degradation of our conventions around marriage and child-rearing is becoming comprehensive, and that even a slim majority of traditional marriage defenders are abandoning those principles.
Why is this bad? Because we know from extensive research that, all other things being equal, a child's best hope at long-term health, happiness and well-being lies in being raised by his or her married, biological parents. This is a well-known fact that's not even really debatable; the data speak for themselves.
If fewer and fewer people support regular, normal, garden-variety marriage, then we will have less of it. When even conservatives are dropping such support in droves, the numbers will likely get catastrophically low. That's very bad news for children—and, by extension, the rest of society.