The Family Foundation Continues to Fight to Protect and Strengthen Marriage in Virginia

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Despite the conclusion of the hard-fought battle to pass the Marriage Amendment (which incidentally was a huge victory considering the amount of money the anti-Marriage Amendment forces spent trying to deceive and distort Virginia's voters) I've continued to be MIA from the blog world. Grassroots activism continues to sap time that could be spent blogging.

Anyways, I wanted to dust off my keyboard to quickly point out that today's edition of the Washington Post has this article discussing the Family Foundation's efforts to enact mutual consent divorce for couples with children and thus reform the Commonwealth's loose divorce laws. Here is their description of the proposal:

The foundation is advocating "mutual consent divorce" for couples with children, which would require a husband and wife to agree to divorce before a marriage can be legally terminated, except in certain instances, such as abuse or cruelty. The proposed legislation would not affect childless couples.

"Right now, one spouse can unilaterally end [the marriage], and not only is their spouse unable to stop the divorce, their abandonment does not preclude them from having custody of their child," said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation. "When we send a message that one can up and leave their family and have no consequence, the Old Dominion is encouraging divorce."

The article goes on to discuss more of the Family Foundation's impressive legislative agenda and ties their mutual consent divorce proposal into the successful effort to protect Virginia's definition of marriage via the Marriage Amendment:

Cobb and her allies in the General Assembly said Thursday that the debate over the amendment banning same-sex marriage spurred this year's push for changes to the state's divorce laws.

"People were saying, 'It is not the homosexuals wrecking marriage, it's the heterosexuals,' so we are saying, 'Is there any truth to that?' " said Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has filed legislation to study the effects of no-consent divorce on state marriage rates.

"You can just walk away from someone right now. There is less security in the covenant of marriage than if you and I agree to open up a hamburger joint," Marshall said.

Definitely worth a read. I look forward to watching as this proposal develops.

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12 Comments

kevin said:

Whoa. I'm glad I'm not the only one stirring stuff up with the posts. I'm gonna read the article here in a minute but I just want to say "Whoa" and "this sounds awfully pollyannish". But now I'll read the article to see what it says.

kevin said:

It's good to see "except for in cases of abuse or cruelty". Add adultery. Even God allowed divorce for that reason. But then the rest of the piece just goes on about abortion?

Charles Author Profile Page said:

I expect to see a lot of support from the anti-marriage-amendment people for this, especially our good friend zimzo and other commenters to this blog.

After all, every time we talked about marriage, they were always the first to complain about how easy it was to get a divorce, and how that was what we SHOULD be fixing.

Jack said:

Sounds like a great idea to me. There is far too much divorce in this country, and the children are suffering for it.

kevin said:

I'm not sure I've got any problem with it either, although someone may likely tell me why I should. One question, how does this fit into a "less government" agenda? I understand it being left up to the states but. . .I guess you could always just move to Maryland if you didn't like the rules.

Are these laws anywhere else in the country? Seems to me that when I was getting my divorce I getting all panicky when I read that the divorce could be thwarted by my spouse stating they wanted to work on the marriage and stay together. It doesn't sound like a novel law, just wondering if it's going anywhere else?

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

oi gevalt! that marriage amendment passed and now yous guys have had a taste of Power, huh?

here's the backfire senerio to this bi-lateral divorce law:

Wife tells Husband, "I want a divorce" H. says, "Nothin' Doin'" W. says, "Fine, I'm leaving you!" Then she moves to Cali and shacks up with Mr. X. and they start poppin' out bastard kids because back east, H. is refusing to allow a divorce to go through.

People are People, and you know this kind of thing would be happening all the time. "S/HE won't agree to a divorce, so we're separated indefinatly"

talk about meaningless marriage!

and I don't want to heae any more save-the-children bull. What's it going to take for people to realize that one faction's use of 'moral legislation' to impose it's will on the whole society is not what makes America great? Why don't y'all do what Jesus would do and try accepting people as they are for once??

Jack said:

Jesus does not accept everyone as they were. I do believe he told the adulterous woman, "Go, and sin no more."

David said:

Can you say "Nanny State social engineering"? All this nonsense will accomplish is to make marriage even more meaningless than it already is.

A much more constructive approach would be to make it more difficult to get *married*. Doing the hard work of pre-marital education to prevent bad marriages in the first place is obviously a more efficacious long-term approach to our divorce problem.

The problem with that from the perspective of "social conservatives" is that it would require too much honest discussion of what marriage really means (hint: it's not the shallow Bob Marshall concept of genital "complementarity").

Such vulgarities as "insert tab A into slot B" does not a marriage make.

kevin said:

David, you're absolutely right. Getting in on the prevention end is a much better way to go in my opinion. As in pre-marital education.

I kind of agree with everyone. I think both marriage and divorce are too easy to fall into, and consistent with the effort to "strengthen the family" it seems like a worthwhile PR endeavor for the Family Foundation.

It totally falls short, however, because the crisis of the family in America is a crisis brought on by deteriorating values: People just don't value families as highly as they should. They value other stuff, and the children suffer.

What's interesting is the crisis is just as pervasive within the "Christian community" as without. What does that say about the Church or churches?

What is says to me is a person can put on the trappings of religion just like donning a uniform. How much faith still exists within the Christian community?

I view this problem similar to the way I view the abortion issue. The state can do some things in terms of putting the brakes on the process and distributing information, but the problem will only be solved via widespread education. People have to want the right things; if they don't, there is only so much the state can achieve.

The state does a reasonably good job locking up murderers and such; it has a much spottier record at making people less stupid and selfish.

Charles Author Profile Page said:

You can't fix everything until you fix something.

People sign the marriage contract, it's not unreasonable to enforce it.

People DO take actions without regards to their children, and anything we can do to focus again on what is best for the children rather than simply what they want is a good thing.

I guess the devil's in the details though.

But it is clear that too many people are taking children for granted, or subordinating children to their own wants and desires.

And yes, I generally include in this list people who purposely and willfully bring children into the world with the intent of denying them knowledge, or the input, of their biological parent or parents.

Sure, children are fun, but so is a dog, and maybe those who just want something around the house should stick to 4-legged creatures.

Harold said:

It is time to move on. Find something else to be outraged by. The Iraq war is a good place to start. Bush and Cheney’s abuse of power is a reason to be appalled. Darfur? Right up there.

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