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Whose fault is it anyway?

When a happy couple holds hands before family and friends, looks lovingly into each other’s eyes, and utters those magical words “I do,” they never suspect things might go wrong.  

But in many marriages, things just do.  However, since the arrival of no-fault divorce, two people can admit to a mistake and agree to go their separate ways when a marriage fails.  

No-fault divorce started in California in 1969 and allowed those who no longer wished to be married to end their relationship when both parties agree. Unlike divorces prior to 1969, no-fault cost less, protected children from unnecessary angst between their parents, and freed up family courts from year-long settlement battles.  

Even though divorce is generally the last thing on couples’ minds as they head into a marriage agreement, mistakes happen.  So no need to beat a dead dog, right? 

Now, ever heard of a covenant marriage?  

According to the New York Times, “Covenant marriages are legally binding contracts or agreements between two people who have the intent to live together for the rest of their lives. Unlike traditional marriages, covenant marriages come with additional requirements and ending one through divorce is more challenging. Currently, three states allow these types of marriages: Arizona, Arkansas and Louisiana.”

Because of the legal contract in a covenant marriage, divorce is difficult and, in many cases, much more costly.  For example, if one spouse claims the other committed adultery, actual pictures or videos are required before a divorce is granted.  If no such material exists, the marriage is sometimes extended an additional two years, with required mandatory counseling for the unhappy couple.

Although the divorce rate is less than other marriages, covenant divorces still end in 25% of these marriages. 

So why is this important to know, you ask?  We can choose how to marry, so if one doesn’t want the stipulations of a covenant marriage, no worries. 

Or are there?

Speaker Mikey and his wife have a covenant marriage, and there are several congressmen who would like to see this option extended beyond the three states that now recognize them.  Republican Senators J.D. Vance and Tom Cotton have voiced an interest in ending no-fault divorce, along with Mike Johnson, the current speaker of the house. State senators in South Dakota and Oklahoma have offered legislation in their states to end no-fault divorce.

Also, Ben Carson, former cabinet member for Donald Trump, recently released a book that called for an end to no-fault divorce.  “For the sake of families, we should enact legislation to remove or radically reduce incidences of no-fault divorce,” Carson writes in The Perilous Fight.

And the number of conservative, religious-based, right wing politicians calling for an end to no-fault divorce is growing. 

So what’s wrong with that, you ask?  Marriage is supposed to be sacred and should be entered into with the intent to honor the commitments made when couples marry. 

Okay, unless, maybe, you’re involved in an abusive relationship with your spouse and the law requires that you live with your abuser for two years if there is no physical evidence of that abuse.  That includes your children, too.  As most abused spouses are women, this is another way for the state to lock a woman in a dangerous situation with no easy way out. 

All mandated by the government. 

A covenant divorce can also be messy, exposing children to unnecessary harm  and nasty details as their parents’ problems drag through and stall out in an already overwhelmed court system.  

So ask yourself why this idea of a covenant marriage is rearing its ugly head in our current political system.  Why, in a world rife with war, hunger, poverty, and political criminals would any politician care how a constituent got married?  Why would this even be the business of your local, state, or federal politician?

When you think about who has the most to lose if a covenant marriage goes belly up, it’s probably the wife.  She’s more likely to be abused, less likely to have control over finances, and a sure bet for getting screwed by her male partner.

So it’s not about protecting the family, as politicians would tell you.  Just like abortion isn’t about protecting babies.  

It’s all about keeping women in their places and making sure they are never a threat to a male-dominated world.  A white male-dominated world.  No fault divorce reduces control over women.

Because, politicians who would propose such a change to the marriage law are happy with things just the way they are. 

This November, vote for democratic candidates to protect women’s health and women’s rights.

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