Decline in marriage and children growing up without fathers "is doing more harm than smoking, global warming and poor diets", says Baroness

Conspiracy of silence on value of marriage: Politicians frightened to admit fathers are vital, says top family lawyer Supporting marriage has become a 'no go area' for our politicians says Baroness DeechShe says an absence of fathers is 'harming' the next generation of children Politicians are 'too afraid' of offending cohabiting partners or single parents By Steve Doughty PUBLISHED: 18:28 GMT, 15 February 2013 | UPDATED: 02:20 GMT, 16 February 2013 Marriage is as important to the future of the nation as climate change and poverty, a senior family lawyer said yesterday. Baroness Deech said the growing numbers of families without fathers was doing more harm to the next generation than other factors such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise. And she warned that a conspiracy of silence surrounded the issue because political leaders were afraid to say married families were better for children than cohabiting families or single parent families.