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No to House Bill 1423

Today is Valentine's Day, the day couples celebrate their love for each other. Ironically, this is also the week when the Legislature will introduce bipartisan House Bill 1423 to end so-called quickie divorces.

The bill requires married couples -- that odds aren't celebrating Valentine's Day -- to wait six months and attend 10 hours of counseling before they can divorce. The waiting period could be waived if there is allegation of substantial domestic abuse. This bill was attempted last Legislature and the waiting time was shortened from one year to six months.

There are countless reasons marriages fail and granted too many fail. Statistics say the younger the couple, the higher the divorce rate. First marriages are more likely to end in divorce. Seventy-five percent of women will remarry, and 47 percent of those marriages will dissolve within 10 years. People who live together before they are married are just as likely to get divorced as those who don't.

So, logically, instead of requiring a waiting period before folks can get divorced, why not create a bill to prevent divorces before they can happen? Couples must wait till they are old enough to know they will truly stay married until death they do part, whatever that age is. Second marriages should be disallowed because too many don't do any better than the first, nor can you marry if you are living out of wedlock.

We always worry when government gets involved in matters of the heart, especially when it comes to marriage. We wonder how many marriages will be saved if couples have to wait a mandatory six months and attend counseling? We think most folks don't just wake up one morning and flippantly decide they should divorce.

Divorces are stressful, especially when kids are involved. Most couples anguish over the decision and seek advice from family, friends, pastors and attorneys. What they don't need is state government telling them how and when they can end their marriage.