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The conservative pro-heterosexual marriage movement has another idea to move this country backwards--make it harder for couples to get a divorce.  Historically, the states made it very difficult for couples to get a divorce and judges could deny a divorce to a couple who wanted it.  The result of this was that many people were trapped in marriages that were not good marriages, and in some instances, abusive ones.

All of this changed when states began allowing no fault divorce.  

Now some conservatives are trying to take us backwards to the days when divorces were harder to get.  

Scott Keyes has an opinion piece in The Washington Post describing the efforts by some conservatives to make divorce harder.  Keyes states:

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

If these conservatives succeed, it will be a giant step backwards for women.  According to Keyes, no fault divorce has had positive benefits:

No-fault divorce has been a success. A 2003 Stanford University study detailed the benefits in states that had legalized such divorces: Domestic violence dropped by a third in just 10 years, the number of husbands convicted of murdering their wives fell by 10 percent, and the number of women committing suicide declined between 11 and 19 percent

Despite these benefits, conservatives have proposed bills in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington that would make divorce tougher.  Links to these bills appear in Keyes' opinion piece.

Keyes discussed as an example a bill that failed last year in Iowa.  

Last year, seven GOP lawmakers in Iowa introduced HF 338, which would have prohibited no-fault divorces for couples who have children under 18. Under the bill, parents could divorce only in cases of adultery, imprisonment due to a felony, abuse, abandonment or if the couple has been separated at least two years. The lead sponsor, Rep. Tedd Gassman, argued that this bill would “ensure that divorce is not the first option for married couples with children.”

Fortunately that bill failed.

We need to move this country forward, not backwards.  

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