Archive for Monday, March 15, 2010

Covenant marriages’ draw opposition

March 15, 2010, 3:04 p.m. Updated March 15, 2010, 3:04 p.m.


— A proposal to establish “covenant marriages” in Kansas has drawn opposition from lawyers and a women’s rights group who say the measure will inject more conflict into divorce proceedings.

“The narrow and specific conditions that must be met for a divorce in a covenant marriage contract places women and children at risk,” said Kari Rinker, state coordinator and lobbyist for Kansas NOW.

House Bill 2667 started out as a bill to re-organize various statutes. But in the House, an amendment was added to provide for optional covenant marriages, which would make it more difficult to end a marriage by doing away with no-fault divorce.

Under a covenant marriage, couples could only divorce after undergoing marriage counseling and living apart for one year. A divorce could also be granted in cases of infidelity, domestic abuse, or if a spouse was convicted of a serious crime.

State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, said his amendment would help preserve marriages and families.

But Kansas NOW and the Kansas Association for Justice, a non profit organization of consumer lawyers, said the proposal would cause problems.

Rinker with Kansas NOW said the requirement that the couple participate in marital counseling could result in sessions with one spouse’s batterer, which causes safety concerns. And, she said, not every couple can afford counseling.

“Mandating that people stay in unhealthy marriages will not make the marriage successful,” she said. She also said young people may feel pressure to enter into a covenant marriage.

The bill is now being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In written testimony to the committee, Katherine Kirk, a Lawrence attorney, said the family law section members of the Kansas Assocation of Justice “believe that the covenant marriage provisions will open a virtual Pandora’s Box in situations where married couples cannot work through their differences.”


ksjayhawk74 7 years ago

I fully support the idea of saving marriages if it's possible and if the relationship should be saved. But the Government has no business there.

A huge problem with this idea is that infidelity and/or abuse would be hard to prove and the last thing a person needs when they're trying to get out of a bad marriage is to have to come up with a indisputable evidence that their spouse is being bad to them. In this 1 year counseling/cooling off time, when the couple is apart, most of the couples will be living as if they were single anyway... leading to more infidelity...

So these Republicans are going to say that same sex couples can't get marries but a woman who's married to some wife-beater has to prove it or stay with the jerk for at least a year until she is allowed to get a divorce?!?!

beawolf 7 years ago

Republican idiocy at it's finest.

kscityrobber 7 years ago

anthony brown is a great guy. i may not agree with his views all the time.but all this talk about women and her being stuck in a bad relationship. what about men? i know many of men stuck right now with evil wenches . and trust me just as bad as being a beater. and to be stuck with a yapping wench for a year is crazy....

guesswho 7 years ago

Umm..I thought Pandora's box referred to Pandora letting all evils out into the world, but preserving hope, which is why one never loses hope. Shouldn't this have a more appropriate term such as a 'can of worms'.

That being said....what a waste of time. Why not make people live together a year before they get married? That might prevent a lot of divorces? Why not make people be engaged for a year? I'm guessing people put a lot more thought into divorce then they do marriage. Making people wait a year will have all kinds of repercussions on delaying purchases (houses, cars) where they do not want to have a soon-to-be ex-spouse on the legal document.

kscityrobber 7 years ago

lets be a passive democrat.. and continue to support welfare to lazy people. go

badger 7 years ago

It'd do a lot more to preserve marriage in any state if couples had to get that year of counseling before the wedding, not the divorce. You shouldn't be allowed to get married until you've proven that you can reasonably discuss:

  1. Who will be responsible for the household bookkeeping and making sure the bills get paid.
  2. Retirement funding plans.
  3. If you will have children, how many, and when. (also, if there will be kids, who will stay home with them for how long)
  4. What (if any) religious traditions will be practiced in the household.
  5. Whether you'll fully commingle funds or maintain separate accounts.
  6. Where you'll go for major holidays.
  7. How much alone time is too much.
  8. The maximum length of time any friend or family member will be invited to stay.
  9. How household chores will be divided up.
  10. Who is responsible for cleaning up after the pet(s).

Because honestly, barring abuse and infidelity, every relationship breakup I've ever seen comes down to people not having the same expectations about things on that list...

And of all of them, #1 and #7 have tanked the most relationships.

situveux1 7 years ago

optional. covenant marriage is optional. don't want to get stuck in a bad marriage, then don't get one. nuf said.

gatekeeper 7 years ago

Brown is a typical KS republican and big Brownback supporter. He cares about social issues and abortion. He needs to focus on his own family, go back to teaching and get out of KS polictics. All of the issues we have and he wants to focus on making divorce harder. He says he wants to cut wasteful spending, but then proposes this junk that will mean more govt regulation and money spent. Why doesn't he focus on getting the state out of debt instead of spending his efforts on this cr*p. Vote him out!

Olympics 7 years ago

Doug Stanhope on marriage.

NSFW due to language...2 s-words and one hard to hear F-bomb

kscityrobber 7 years ago

ts the democrats that got us in debt. they want us to pay for people that dont work but continue to have babies.they want goverment health care so the people on welfare can get the same treatment that someone who works hard does... thats wasteful spending atits best...

Calliope877 7 years ago

"State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, said his amendment would help preserve marriages and families."

It's not Anthony Brown's job to preserve marriages and families. It is the responsibility of the people involved in the marriage to preserve the marriage and family if they choose to. The government needs to stay out of the bedrooms of private citizens. It's a stupid amendment.

parrothead8 7 years ago

State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, said his amendment would help preserve marriages and families.

He forgot the word "bad". His amendment would help preserve BAD marriages. Great. Just great.

I agree with Calliope. The government should stay out of regulating our marriages and bedrooms.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

My sister was married to an abuser, cheater and drug dealer. When they went to counseling, he told her she better not mention any of those things. He came from a "upstanding" family, and she was from a working class family. She was able to get a no fault divorce. If she had to prove he did all these things, his family would have come after her. Men are also in this situation, but more women have this problem. Conservatives don't want to regulate business, but they sure like to regulate your personal life. They have certainly hijacked what conservatives used to be, and are full of s*** about not wanting big government.

2002 7 years ago

Churches and/or counselors are for saving marriages. Government is not.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years ago

I've been reading the comments here. Please tell me no one is surprised; first, the State gave you a Constitutional amendment (which we passed) telling you who you can marry. Now it is proprosing to tell you who you can divorce.

Mel Briscoe 7 years ago

alf said it first and alf said it best.

Jay Keffer 7 years ago

Where are all the pro-gay marriage proponents? They are always yammering about the divorce rate of the breeders. They should be out in full force supporting the efforts to save traditional marriage, since they typically bash the lack of such efforts.

Although the logistics present many problems, saving marriages, especially those with children, is a noble effort. Having the nanny state move into one more area is a scary proposition, however. Best option? Step up and do the right thing – on your own.

Carol Braden 7 years ago

What a waste of time! There is no proof that marital separation will help to reconcile the marriage:

This amendment is based on Anthony Brown's own religious beliefs.

Not only will I NOT vote for Anthony Brown next election, I will highly campaign for anyone running against him. DO NOT re-elect this person who wastes Kansans' time when we need to be focusing on how to solve the budget deficit.

Shane Garrett 7 years ago

Maybe if we save the moral fiber of the state we will create jobs that produce goods and not just services. Oh wait councelors are good service providers. We need more government oversite. (sick)

kawrivercrow 7 years ago

We should make gays have covenant marriages. That'd shut em up.

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

This is the height of ridiculousness. Let's just force people to stay in bad marriages. I'm all for making it a lot more difficult to get married and a lot less difficult to get a divorce. Many ancient cultures had the concept of "handfasting", a trial marriage that lasted a year and a day. At the end of that time either partner could vacate the contract or the couple could decide to make it permanent. Seems like a good idea to me.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

And the winner for the day is Badger. Great post Badger. Keep in mind that this is a choice the couple make. It is not imposed on everyone. NOW is extremely reactionary. They always talk about choice until someone wants to make one and then they come out demanding that everyone embrace their party line. Up theirs.

Scruggsy 7 years ago

Are these the types of things they discuss at the all important conferences???

asbury 7 years ago

@ badger: You've got it right.

BorderRuffian 7 years ago

Badger - what you suggest is EXACTLY why most churches require those getting married (gasp - the idea of introducing religious institutions into marriage) to undergo premarital counseling that covers exactly those ideas, and more. Isn't it interesting that the further and further away from the church the concept of marriage gets, the more society innately yearns for just what the church has to offer?

funinsun1 7 years ago

It is not the govt job to legislate morality. This is a crazy waste of effort and funds that should be spent on cutting budgets! Get out of our lives. If someone is foolish enough to get into a bad marriage let them get out and they can pay the piper in heaven.

redmorgan 7 years ago

This is ridiculous. The decision of whether or not to work out a troubled marriage should rest with the couple and not with the government.

KayCee 7 years ago

Well the 'left-wing kids' of Lawrence are again showing their lack of knowledge. A coventant marriage will ONLY be entered into by the most thoughtful and serious of couples. They are the ones that make mariage 'work' today and you would seldom see them in a divorce court. It won't keep anyone in a BAD marriage.

Anthony Brown has more insight into what would help our society than ljw posters. He no doubt has encountered the 'covenant' in some of his experience, and realizes it could benifit those who wish for more in their marriage .

tolawdjk 7 years ago

"Well the 'left-wing kids' of Lawrence are again showing their lack of knowledge. A coventant marriage will ONLY be entered into by the most thoughtful and serious of couples. They are the ones that make mariage 'work' today and you would seldom see them in a divorce court. It won't keep anyone in a BAD marriage."

Then why does it need legislation to stipluate requirements to get out of it, or to enter it? Why does it need a govt. hook if the people that would enter it would never leave it? Why does the govt. need to be involved in defining what kind of marriage it is? Contracts like this are only entered if you suspect that the other party, or yourself, won't be able to uphold them and you need a legal lock to force the issue.

This is the exact opposite of what should be expected from a Conservative.

sciencegeek 7 years ago

Another way of looking at his issue: the implication of entering into a covenant marriage is that you have every intention of staying married, so the tougher divorce requirements won't be an issue. Consequently, the only reason NOT to enter into a covenant marriage it's because you aren't sure that the marriage will last. Think of the pressure that adds: "Honey, why WOULDN'T you agree to a covenant marriage; don't you love me?"

So, more people are pressured into the covenant variety marriage, which, should it end, means it's harder to get a divorece. Which may be the very reason this idea was proposed. After all, the word "covenant" has Biblical connotations.

The fallacy is that church-based marriages have divorce rates similar to the secular variety. So what we have here is a veiled attempt to inject religion into law with no logical basis.

Unfortunately, I suspect that this may just be a run-up to Brownback theocracy. "Render unto Caesar" will have no place in Kansas then.

Joe Hyde 7 years ago

If Rep. Brown really thinks that a state-imposed "honorable discharge strategy" will help reduce the number of unhappy marriages that end in divorce, then perhaps he is open to the idea of imposing a "boot camp strategy" that reduces the number of couples whose marriage, if allowed, is likely to fail?

This could be accomplished by passing a law that forces all couples applying for a marriage license to submit documentation proving that they have: 1) lived together intimately for a 12-month period within the same place of residence; 2) went grocery shopping together a minimum of 50 times; 3) had at least two nasty domestic quarrels witnessed by neighbors, and; 4) completed a 12-month long state-certified marriage counseling course.

Only after satisfying these requirements would couples be authorized to marry in the state of Kansas. Sound harsh, even unconstitutionally intrusive? Hey, it would be. But if your idea is to slow down unhappy married drivers so they don't crash the wall at Turn Three, then be consistent and slow down the hot, wild single couples before they go roaring side-by-side into Turn One.

billbodiggens 7 years ago

"Kansas Association for Justice, a non profit organization of consumer lawyers" is what was not so long ago called the "Kansas Trial Lawyers Association." It is an association dedicated to helping and preserving plaintiffs' lawyers. An organization dedicated to suing people. While this type of marriage probably would not be too good in general for the population of Kansas, and it is just another example of codifying religious doctrine, it certainly would cut into the Trial Lawyers' business.

BrianR 7 years ago

"...amendment would help preserve marriages and families."

This is not only stupid and a waste of time, it places women and kids in danger. Forcing people to stay married will cause abuse to rise and before you know it, someone will die. Like someone said above, if you don't EVER want to get divorced, don't get married.

yankeevet 7 years ago

So much easier being single...................

ctrmhero 7 years ago

Hey Billbo try to learn what a lawyer does before speaking. You clearly have no clue how the system works. If the trial lawyers had a dog in this fight it would be to encourage covenant marriage. Most "Trial Lawyers" also do domestic relations work. To translate to to the simple minded meanst that we do divorces. A no fault divorce means you get straight to the issue of property division and parening time. The is no wasted time or legal fees to prove fault so one can get divorced. A covenant marriage on the other hand means you would have to first justify the divorce which would add likely at leat $500 to an average covenant divorce. So now that I think about it this is a good thing. More money for me the evil trial lawyer and I didn't even ask for it. I can make real consistent money like a defense attorney. That gets paid by the hour guanteed and usually more than the trial lawyer.

br0318 7 years ago

Actually it's not a bad idea. It would be an optional marriage arrangement. If a couple chose to enter into a covenant marriage, they would be agreeing to a more committed relationship. Think about how disposable marriage has become in our society. Many marriages end, not because of abuse or infidelity, but because marriage is harder then they expected, and the arrangement isn't fun anymore. My wife and I are committed to each other, there are days she doesn't like me and I don't like her. But we love each other. Somedays it's just harder to remember that. =) We are family. My kids can drive me crazy, it doesn't mean I can just stop being their dad. My parents drive me crazy, I can't just stop being their son. If husbands and wives knew that marriage was more permanent, maybe they would think harder about who they choose to be with, and would work harder to stay together. The covenant marriage arrangement, makes allowances for abuse, infedelity, criminal activity, but yes, it will make it harder to just walk away. I would guess most people will continue to opt for the more loosey goosey bailout marriage license, but many couples would choose to go the covenant route, and knowing that, would go into marriage, understanding that they are in this for the long haul.

kscityrobber 7 years ago

you dont like the idea donjt enter it. you can still get married without it.i shall see all of you in the paper under granted divorces..

LoveThsLife 7 years ago

Vertigo..I agree with you...I'll probably get slammed as well. But oh well. I moved from a military town where cheap divorces were advertised on billboards and in the newspaper...kind of sad.

tolawdjk 7 years ago

"I would guess most people will continue to opt for the more loosey goosey bailout marriage license, but many couples would choose to go the covenant route, and knowing that, would go into marriage, understanding that they are in this for the long haul."

So, without the covenant option, you are in essence saying that they weren't going to be in it for the long haul initially?

Can we add the terms nikah and nikah mut'ah to the legislation as well? Or are we only using Christian terms in the legislation?

madameX 7 years ago

This would be acceptable if and only if the amout of effort necessary to create one of these covanent marriages is equal to the amout of effort necessary to dissolve one. Letting people enter a covanent marriage does not in and of itself bestow upon them the maturity and strength that may be required to maintain the marriage. If the couple wants one them let them first prove that they understand what they are getting into and that they can handle the responsibility by requiring a longer waiting period between applying for and receiving and marriage license (I think it's currently one week) or requiring a licensed marriage counseler to sign off on it or something along those lines.

My concern is that in relationships where abuse is a problem there is usually a desire on the part of the abuser to manipulate and control the abused. I would worry that an abusive person would be more likely to push for a covanent marriage because it would make it that much harder for the abused spouse to get out of it, and that this abuser would be more likely to succeed in manipulating the abused into going along with it so as not to trigger more abuse. Then a person who has the greatest need to be able to dissolve a marriage would be stuck in a position wheren he or she has to prove to a judge that their spouse was abusive (which is painful and traumatic and probably not that easy to do) instead of simply being able to say "we're incompatible" and getting on with life.

All in all, I am against this law.

LoveThsLife 7 years ago


Dad's are a very important component to a child's development. Yes, there are father's out there (and mother's) who are not as involved in their child's life and their kids come out fine, but to just state that they aren't needed is a bit extreme and goes against the current published literature. Educate yourself before making such claims.

There has been some interesting research done on marriage and divorce. Here is a book (a lot easier to read than a research article) and a link to a website on Marriage by the University of Virginia who has partnered with a few other organizations and does research on marriage and marital issues.

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith Wallerstein This is a very interesting analysis done discussing the long term effects of divorce on children. There has been some other interesting research done linking divorce to increased drug use, sexual promiscuity, criminal behavior etc. in adolescences. I'll have to go back to my child psychology textbooks to find the references...I've always found this topic quite interesting.

Here is UVA's website. Some of the statistics are quite surprising.

Marriage, Divorce and Parenting all play an important role in our society as a whole.

LoveThsLife 7 years ago

I meant to write adolescence..whoops!

dpowers 7 years ago

Choice? Maybe for a most people. But there will be churches that will only do the wedding if it is a covenant marriage. Those people could then get stuck in abusive marriages.

Brown should focus on his own d@m! family!

madameX 7 years ago

"""you forget that a vast majority of fathers are parenting children that are not biologically theirs. just heard a researcher in genetics talk about it last night.""""

According to whom? Very skeptical of this I am...

mom_of_three 7 years ago

homeslice, get a clue. I support gay marriage, but I don't support anyone staying in an unhealthy marriage.

madameX 7 years ago

Wow, if you were writing a research paper for me I'd give you an F for not citing your sources.

I will continue to be skeptical, thank you, just like I always am when someone says something outlandish and then refuses to demonstrate that they didn't just make it up.

madameX 7 years ago

no, you are not. that's why i said IF.

Yes, a genetic researcher who wants to follow a family's dna should know about the dna of the children, but you refuse to name a researcher, or what percentage of these kids are supposedly being raised by fathers who are not their own, or how big the sample is, or what kind of margin of error there might be for this alleged research.

As for your "slight source" what are you, a sphinx? If you can't be bothered to back up a statement with a tiny little "according to so-and-so" them I'm certainly not going off on some journey for knowledge that may or may not exist. Even if i did find a source that backs up your statement, how am I supposed to know it's the same source you used if you won't tell me what your source was? And supposing I found a source that states the opposite how am I supposed to know whose source is more credible? Sorry if I sound mean, but refusal to cite sources is easily my number one pet peeve, and just because this is an anonymus message board is no real excuse.

What's stupid is I think we're on the same side regarding this bill. I'm against it, and clearly you're against it, but we're arguing over one stupid little unverified fact.

Okay, I know a troll when I encounter one. I'm done.

madameX 7 years ago

Okay, ShePreceds, I lied. I'm not done. Since you were kind enough to post a link I tried it and it just takes you to the main site. Is there a specific article that you're trying to direct me to?

jaywalker 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mandie Eutsler 7 years ago

Awesome! A cat fight, and the dumbass of the day, all in one post.

yeah, I'm talking about you...

jaywalker 7 years ago

Mr. Kealing,

I would sincerely appreciate an explanation on what rule I could have possibly violated with that post to garner removal. Fairly certain there was nothing untoward there, but if so I'd like to not make the same mistake again.

Thank you.

Jay Keffer 7 years ago

No one is supporting staying in an abusive marriage; not sure how some here are defining an 'unhealthy' marriage. The point is that it's too easy to jump out of the union that each party vowed to remain in under any circumstances (not abuse of course). Too many people bail for trite reasons and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Not all marriages can work, but I'd wager the vast majority would if people really gave an honest effort in making the lifelong investment in the other person's happiness.

The beginning of the divorce-for-no-good-reason mess can be laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan and his signing of the Family Law Act of 1969. For shame.

billbodiggens 7 years ago

Wow! ctrmhero is an esquire who likes to boast of his importance. Thinks his business is not understandable to mere mortals. Repeat business must be a problem.

Calliope877 7 years ago

HomeSlice (anonymous) says… "No one is supporting staying in an abusive marriage; not sure how some here are defining an 'unhealthy' marriage. The point is that it's too easy to jump out of the union that each party vowed to remain in under any circumstances (not abuse of course). Too many people bail for trite reasons and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Not all marriages can work, but I'd wager the vast majority would if people really gave an honest effort in making the lifelong investment in the other person's happiness.

The beginning of the divorce-for-no-good-reason mess can be laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan and his signing of the Family Law Act of 1969. For shame."

The people who "bail for trite reasons and leave a trail of destruction in their wake" probably had no business being together in the first place. I think the basis of the problem is that there are a lot of stupid people out there getting married for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, we can't fix stupid, nor should the government try to compensate for the actions of stupid people by proposing an amendment to keep stupid people together.

Jay Keffer 7 years ago

Calliope877, I understand where you are coming from. It is a Catch-22 these days. Too easy to get married for the wrong reasons as it is so easy to dissolve a marriage for virtually no reason. Perhaps if the 'rules' were more stringent, frivolous marriages would diminish significantly.

Sounds like this effort could benefit from both sides - prevent poorly planned marriages from happening in the first place, and existing, hopefully feasible marriages from failing due to lack of effort. Any marriage with children should deserve special scrutiny with the stakes involved.

Have seen first hand what a failed marriage does to all involved. Few things are more wicked than someone choosing themselves over others. Trail of destruction......indeed.

BrianR 7 years ago

When I left my first wife almost 20 year ago, I didn't move across town, I moved over 1,000 miles. It seemed far enough at the time. No 'contract' was going to get me in the same room with her.

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