Saturday, February 18, 2006

What a BAD Idea!

Once again, the Oklahoma legislature is working on a bad piece of legislation. A bill is in the works to extend the time it takes a divorce to become final by a whole three months. My first reaction was that people in abusive situations will have to endure them just that much longer, but at least there is an exception for those people.

The whole point of the bill it seems is to reduce Oklahoma's divorce rate, but I see it as a way to force unhappy people to be unhappy just that much longer. I find it to be an unnecessarily cruel government intervention. By the time two people get to the point where they want to divorce, I don't think an extended waiting period is going to be an effective deterent. Indeed, it could actually raise the level of domestic violence. Another side effect is that it could reduce the number of new weddings.

On the surface, a high divorce rate seems to indicate some major failing of societal values, but maybe it just means that Oklahomans are more independent than most and are not willing to give in to societal pressure to keep up appearances when they are unhappy. I think it's great when two people decide they want to share a life together, but I also think it's admirable for someone to assert that the marriage isn't working out for him and it's time to move on. Divorce is a means for two adults to admit they've made a mistake, and they no longer want to be legally bound. In the same way that the government should not decide which two consenting adults can get married (yes, I support the idea of gay marriage), it should not be sticking its nose into the divorces of two consenting adults, either.

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