Civil marriage is a statutory contract whose only legitimate purpose is the protection and welfare of children. (The government has no legitimate interest in relations between consenting adults.) As such, civil marriage should not be: a. a civil rights issue; b. a religious issue; or c. a tradition issue. The biggest social problem in our country is the breakdown of the nuclear family, as evidenced by increasing divorce and illegitimacy rates. Any changes to marriage and/or family laws should be considered in this context. I am not opposed to gay marriage per se. However, I am concerned that it will further undermine the concept of civil marriage in this country unless it is accompanied by other changes to our laws which promote marriage. Therefore, I propose that we expand the definition of civil marriage to include gay couples, but limit the tax benefits to married couples (or widows/widowers) with children under 18. Despite the politically correct defense of Murphy Brown, children growing up in single parent/fractured homes are statistically much more likely to have personal problems and become a drag on society. Despite good intentions, or current policy of supporting/rewarding this situation only makes the problem worse. Our policy should be that, if you want children, get married first and stay married (at least until they turn 18). Furthermore, No Fault divorce should not be available to people with children under 18, and those who do divorce should not get further tax preferences for future children. This may sound judgmental, but what other solutions exist?