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Argument: Marriage is about providing stable home life for the rearing of children

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Raising children is an important social responsibility. Unlike other beings in the animal kingdom, a human infant requires the help of caregivers to survive into early childhood and older, when he or she may acquire some self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Before that, however, the most common global institution for safeguarding the growth of a child has been marriage. From Cultural Anthropology (Eigth Edition), a basic definition of marriage is "a transaction and resulting contract in which a woman and a man are recognized by society as having a continuing claim to the right of sexual access to one another, and in which the woman involved is eligible to bear children" (Haviland, 223). Haviland goes on to clarify that it is important to distinguish "between systems of marriage and mating. All animals, including humans mate; some for life and some not, some with a single individual of the opposite sex, and some with several. Only marriage, however, is backed by legal, economic, and social forces" (227).

Admittedly, because there are different forms of marriage, marriage need not lead to the rearing of children, but it remains closely identified with and linked to the development of a secure home life, most often for the rearing and raising of offspring. Historically and cross-culturally,` marriage has served a cultural purpose, for it is a social and legal contract that not only supports the union of a couple , but also helps support mother and child, by ensuring they are socially and legally connected to the father, whose role often involves support. Indeed, a mother and father, also by definition, exist to raise children; the ideal of marriage helps to reinforce such parenting roles, socially, legally, and economically. Socially, a family is considered a unit; so, the ties between mother, father, and child are recognized by the wider community. Legally, a mother and father are responsible for providing care for their child; if they do not, in many countries, social workers or others may deem the parents unfit to fulfill their role and take the children to a safer, more caring environment. Economically, in terms of taxes, inheritance, and life insurance, most countries treat a family differently than they would an individual. Families may receive tax benefits; to care for them after they lose their parents, often children inherit the property and finances of their parents; similarly, life insurance policies are often used to safeguard the future support and care of a family, in case or when a primary caregiver passes away. So, socially, legally, and economically, marriage typically supports the provision of a stable home life for rearing children.

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"Works Cited"

Haviland, William A. Cultural Anthropology. Eighth Edition. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

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