'Studies consistently indicate that children raised by two happily and continuously married parents have the best chance of developing into competent and successful adults' Professor Paul Amato
On Sunday 11 November 2012, The Honourable Kevin Andrews MP spoke to around 300 young single adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the importance of marriage and family.
Mr Andrews is the Federal Member for Menzies (an electorate in Melbourne), the Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services and is a devoted husband, father and Christian.
'A happy marriage and family life remain the aspiration of most people' said Mr Andrews.
During his keynote address, Mr Andrews shared the results of decades of social science research confirming that a healthy marriage is the optimal relationship for the wellbeing of adults and children alike.
He listed eight modern myths about marriage and divorce - and then used research to disprove each one. For example, contrary to popular belief, premarital cohabitation actually increases the likelihood that a couple will later divorce.
'The statistics were fascinating' said Alexandra Jenson, aged 19, 'the research presented just confirmed to me all the things our Prophets teach us about families'.
The findings presented by Mr Andrews were complemented by talks by Melbourne Church leaders Robert Dudfield, Anthony Parton and Lindsay Sanders who focussed on religious teachings rather than science, reminding us that 'children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalm 127:3) and 'marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God ...
Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honour marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.'
(The Family, A Proclamation to the World, 1995).
Those in attendance also had the opportunity to participate in an open question and answer session with Mr Andrews and to speak with him individually over supper after the conclusion of the fireside.