We have witnessed the fallout from broken families as divorce and out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed in recent decades. These trends have been wrought not by expanding the definition of marriage but by a general lowering of respect for the institution. Blankenhorn’s group suggests that, given Americans’ evolving acceptance of same-sex marriage, we should refocus our energies on a goal that transcends sexual orientation.

His group’s focus is on the disintegration of marriage in the middle and lower classes, which, they say, is creating a new underclass of inequality. As it happens, well-educated people tend to stay married in greater numbers, while the less educated — high school and no college — are becoming a subculture of economically depressed, single-parent families. Studies no longer need to be cited to convince us of what we know: Children from such homes have a lousy shot at the pursuit of happiness. …

In an op-ed last summer, Blankenhorn expanded on his vision: “Once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace?” he asked. “Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation?