McGuire Megna Attorneys, An Association of Professionals

Will Forcing People to Read a Marriage Guide Reduce Divorce?

Will Forcing People to Read a Marriage Guide Reduce Divorce?

Florida Republicans are proposing a bill that would mandate couples seeking to marry read a guide on marriage before they get hitched.  HB 1323, which was filed by Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, would cover topics ranging from parenting responsibilities to communication and even domestic violence.  Lawmakers hope making this guide a prerequisite for a marriage license would lower the divorce rate.

According to the bill’s sponsors, the Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage creates a Marriage Education Committee and prohibits issuance of marriage license until petitioners verify both parties have obtained & read guide or other presentation of similar information.

The party that is supposedly in favor of smaller government wants to get into the marriage preparation and counseling business.  It isn’t government’s job to determine what is or isn’t a healthy marriage.  It also isn’t the job of government to put restrictions on marriages such as those proposed in this legislation.  This is an absurd encroachment into the personal and private lives of individuals, not to mention who is to say that the Florida Legislature are experts in the field of healthy marriages.

It would be ironic if it weren’t so sad that Florida Republicans are eager to wade into the privacy of marriage but will do nothing to keep our kids safe in public schools.  Public safety is the proper purview of government.  But money and influence is involved in the school safety issue (see NRA and their political contributions to Florida’s pols).

The Marriage Guide is a hat tip to social conservatives and another example of government wading into matters where it doesn’t belong.  Adding to the absurdity, the initiative will be administered by the state’s Department of Children and Families which can fuck up a one-car funeral better than any other agency in the Sunshine State.

So, nice job Florida Republicans!  In the midst of Tallahassee sex scandals, please tell us how to live a happy and healthy marriage while our children are slaughtered in our schools.


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