WASHINGTON — The importance of strong families for the well-being of society was discussed by leaders of both political parties as President Barack Obama delivered his 2013 State of the Union address.
Addressing the problem of poverty in his Feb. 12 speech, President Barack Obama promised to “work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples.”
The president’s address, delivered as he begins his second term in office, dealt heavily with the economy and also touched on issues of immigration, education and minimum wage.
However, he also discussed the need for healthy families, pledging to promote active fatherhood, “because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.”
In his State of the Union address, the president did not mention his unprecedented support for a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, which he announced last spring. However, he said that he would “ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families — gay and straight.”
Earlier this week, the Department of Defense announced that it would be extending military spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of armed service members.
The president also promised to work towards an end to extreme poverty in the developing world, placing emphasis on “realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation,” among other health and education goals.
In a push for increased gun control, he added that “what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource — our children.”
Sen. Rubio’s Response
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also touched on family values — as well as faith and the dignity of human life — as he delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union address.
“America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious,” the Catholic senator explained.
He discussed problems with the economy and health care, while stressing that family and faith have an important role in solving society’s troubles.
“And the truth is every problem can’t be solved by government,” Rubio said.
“Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians.”