"Nor will children want to look after a step-parent who, even if not actively resented, will not command the same bonds of love and duty as someone’s natural father or mother.
Nor is it surprising that a principal reason why cohabitations collapse is the arrival of a baby. For a child demands unconditional obligation to another human being. And that’s what cohabitants don’t want."
The whole of Melanie Phillips' stirring article, "Broken Families, Lonely Britain" in the Daily Mail is here. I would head it differently (as per the title of this post). For a generation or more most Western societies have steadfastly refused to affirm the importance of marriage over other forms of relationships, even by the simplest step of (say) offering tax incentives to married couples. The debate on gay 'marriage' is another step in the journey of devaluing marriage between a man and a woman because it is a further application of the refusal to affirm the distinctive contribution marriage between a man and a woman make to the present and future of a society. (I acknowledge that gay 'marriage' is a nuanced step in that journey because the arguments for it involve affirmation of the intrinsic value of unconditional commitment in a relationship).
In the end societies reap what they sow. The unravelling of the economies of the West at present is the harvest of sowing plentiful debt. The surge in immigration into those economies is the harvest of sowing minimal attention to marriage and family life. In the end Western societies will be replaced with peoples who value marriage, family and thrift. Solomon predicted all this when he wrote Proverbs!