Note: Leah Sears has been going to conferences sponsored by the Institute for American Values, a group that share many values with the Dr. Morse's Ruth Institute.
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A Georgia Supreme Court commission is so concerned about the impact of broken families that it is sponsoring a dozen billboards throughout the state with the message “Get Married, Stay Married.”
Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears told the Fulton County Daily Report that she hopes the billboards will help bring down divorce and crime rates, and push fathers to stay involved in their children’s lives.
"It's our job to say to the legislature, and to the executive, 'We see and notice this,' " she told the publication. “We do more than just read cases. We see a lot of human devastation. It's my job to speak out."
Sears is promoting intact families despite her own divorce after 20 years of marriage, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. “It’s politically incorrect to say marriage has benefits,” she said. “Let’s not be afraid to say marriage is a good thing.”
The Georgia Supreme Court’s Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law sponsored the billboards and convened a pro-marriage conference last week. Participants talked about topics ranging from the role of spirituality in supporting marriage to whether gay marriage promotes family stability. Sears moderated the gay marriage debate, but didn’t take a position. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the issue needs to be addressed by legislation.
The Georgia Bar Foundation paid the $50,000 cost to produce the billboards, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia donated the space, Sears said. Private foundations also picked up much of the cost of the marriage summit.
The billboards picture a happy looking family or a contented baby and carry an additional message, according to the story in the Fulton County Daily Report. The blurb on some billboards reads, "Children do better with parents together." The other message simply says, "For Children's Sake."
The billboards also list a website, www.getmarriedstaymarried.org.