As a Cuyahoga County juvenile court judge, Peter Sikora has a front row seat to the downside of marriage – or at least procreation. His days are filled with abused and neglected kids, custody battles, and wannabe thugs who shoot each other for reasons scant to nonexistent. His job, one might argue, is a 40-hour-a-week seminar on why procreation should be outlawed.
Yet this year, Sikora has taken a defiantly optimistic stance. He’s decided to perform free marriage ceremonies on Valentine’s Day. His courtroom will be decorated for the occasion. Spokeswoman Pattie Oakar has even promised to make a cake. Couples just have to bring a marriage license and a desire to get hitched...
“Juvenile court does see so much of the other side, when families are broken, when families are dysfunctional,” Sikora says. “This might be a nice thing to do.”
Cynics might dismiss this as a publicity stunt to help Sikora’s state Supreme Court run. In fact, Oakar says she doesn’t know if anyone’s even going to sign up for the service. But it’s hard not to give the judge credit for trying.
“Marriage is still an important part of our society,” he says. “Kids who live in good, stable homes have a good chance of being successful themselves.” – Lisa Rab