Isabel Sawhill, an expert in poverty and fiscal policy, has long championed the idea that couples should marry before having children. As recently as May 2012, she wrote a piece in The Washington Post supporting former Vice President Dan Quayle’s remark in 1992 that TV single mom Murphy Brown had dishonored the country by bearing a child.
Her opinion generated almost 2,500 comments in the newspaper.
Sawhill, a senior fellow in economics at Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington, still strongly supports marriage. But in her book Generation Unbound, released this week, she writes that she has come to believe that while marriage is an important symbol of commitment and usually a good thing for children, it is no longer what those who care about children should insist come first.