NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Anti-Divorce Activists Find Agenda A Hard Sell

March 20, 2001

Americans don't like government meddling in their private lives. That is making life tough for promoters of legislation to make it more difficult for couples to get divorces.

So while an array of proposals has reached legislative hearing rooms, few of substance have been enacted.

  • No state has followed Florida's example in requiring a marriage-education curriculum for public high school students.
  • Only one state, Arizona, has joined Louisiana in approving covenant marriages -- in which couples voluntarily impose limits on their ability to divorce.
  • Marriage-covenant bills have been rejected in more than 20 legislatures.
  • Last year in Wisconsin, a federal judge struck down a new state law that earmarked $210,000 in welfare money to help members of the clergy encourage monitoring of younger couples by long-married couples.

In Minnesota, Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed a bill last year that would have lowered marriage-license fees for couples who seek counseling before being wed.

"I do not believe government has a role in marriage counseling," Gov. Ventura said.

Source: David Crary, "No-Divorce Legislation: Easy to Like, Hard to Sell," Washington Times, March 21, 2001.


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