Marry Your Baby Daddy Day!

ByABC News
March 21, 2007, 1:36 PM

March 22, 2007 — -- Sept. 29, 2005it's wedding day! Grooms dance down the aisle, one after the other. They're followed by their brides elegantly walking to the altar. Everything looks pretty much like a traditional wedding, albeit a mass one, but it's far from typical.

This isn't just a group wedding. It's a group wedding specifically for unmarried couples with children. This day is called "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day," and it's the brainchild of 31-year-old Maryann Reid. Reid came up with the idea about three years ago when her wedding got called off.

Watch the story Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. EDT

"I was left at the altar, actuallythat experience was dramatic, and I felt that somehow I had to get out [of] a funk," said Reid. She figured that instead of dwelling on her own problems, she should take action. "Why don't I help other people get married?" she said.

Although Reid had no children, she'd noticed that many of her neighbors with kids weren't married. Of course, there have always been babies born out of wedlock. And in America, there's been a steady increase in single motherhood over the past 60 years. But among blacks, those rates are higher -- in America today, nearly 70 percent of black children are born to single moms.

This was not the historical norm. Most black kids were born to married parents until the time when President Johnson promised to end poverty. Perhaps because poor people were offered more government aid, moms had less need for a husband. Some mothers could lose a welfare check if their husband made money. People respond to such incentives, and the out-of-wedlock birthrate has continued to grow across the board, but especially among blacks.

"There is no stigma anymore in the black community about having a child out of wedlock," said Reid, which led to the creation of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day. For those who don't know, Reid explains that "a Baby Daddy is simplyan unmarried father. But they've become caricatures in the ghetto."