Two professors from the University of St. Thomas School of Law are among the founding members of a new initiative that seeks to “make marriage achievable for all Americans, regardless of social class or sexual orientation.”

The Marriage Opportunity Council, a 103-member bipartisan coalition of scholars and leaders including professors Thomas Berg and Charles Reid, will “seek to identify and reduce legal, social and economic impediments to marriage.” The formation of the group was announced Feb. 23 in a statement titled, Marriage Opportunity: The Moment for National Action, signed by the Council’s members.

The statement reflects the concern that an increasing “marriage gap” is helping to keep millions of working-class and poor Americans caught in a downward spiral of economic vulnerability. But it expresses optimism that the increasing recognition of same-sex civil marriage provides an opportunity to strengthen society’s support for marriage, “build on the success of gay and lesbian families,” and, in the words of Council Co-Director Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution, advance “a new pro-family, pro-[marriage]-equality consensus.”

For more information, visit http://www.americanvalues.org/marriage/marriage-opportunity.php.

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