Better Angels

"...all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." ---Abraham Lincoln, First Innaugural Address

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Denmark, Scourge of Scandinavia

I watched some of the Senate debate on the marriage amendment yesterday and was struck by Sen. Santorum's comments on Denmark:
"For example, the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have either marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. Sixty percent of first-born children in those countries are now born out of wedlock. Now, that is equivalent to some of the poorest neighborhoods in our society. Remember, I talked earlier about how the breakdown of marriage has affected the poorest communities in our society and our culture, and in many of those cultures marriage is not accepted, and as a result the Government has to come in and bail out those communities because there are no unions, there are no families, there is no support network for these children? In middle-class and upper middle-class, socialistic, equality-driven Scandinavia, where there are no ghettos of poverty that we see in America, 60 percent of first-born children in these countries are born out of wedlock. Why? Because marriage is not important. It has no meaning. So people simply do not get married."

due, of course, to Denmark's legal gay almost-but-not-quite marriage. This is a common argument against gay marriage.

Since Santorum and his ilk insist that this amendment isn't about discrimination but about protecting children, I thought I'd do a little compare and contrast between the good ol' U.S. of A. and gay lovin', bastard birthin' Denmark.

Infant mortality rate:

US - 6.63 deaths per thousand born
DK - 4.63

Deaths due to abuse or neglect (averaged over 5 years):

US - 2.2 per 100,000 child deaths
DK - .07

Deaths due to abuse or neglect of a child under age 1(averaged over 5 years):

US - 1,889
DK - 8

Children living at or below the poverty line:

US - 22.4%
DK - 5.1%

Children in one parent families:
US - 16.6%
DK - 15.2%

Percent of those children living in poverty:

US - 55.4%
DK - 13.8%

Teen births:
US - 52.1 per 1000 women giving birth
DK - 8.1

The United states is one of only 2 states (Somailia is the other) that has not ratified the UN's Convention for the Rights of the Child

All Danish children receive health insurance. American children do not.

In Denmark, all mothers receive free prenatal care. Parents have a total 52 weeks of leave with a "subsistence allowance" guaranteed them following the birth of each child and each year receive quarterly tax-exempt family support payments for each child under 18. American parents get 12 weeks of unpaid leave and a child tax credit...unless they don't.

Denmark has outlawed the physical punishment of children, while in the U.S. physical punishment is legal except for in prisons and some schools.

98% of Danish mothers initiate breastfeeding. Only 70% of US mothers do. Denmark enforces the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The US does not.

So you see Santorum's point, right?
Me neither.