Those "limited government" N.C. Republican legislators are at it again.
This time, some GOP senators are proposing a bill that would make Dr. Phil beam – the "Healthy Marriage Act."
Yes, Republicans love talking about smaller government, unless they get a chance to add some new officers in the Morality Police.
SB 518, sponsored by two Republican senators, would require a two-year "waiting period" for a divorce to become final. (Note: the choice of "waiting period" will surely raise the hackles of liberals who will argue that Republicans want to make it harder to get a divorce than to buy an assault rifle).
Further, the law would require that each spouse complete courses on "improving communications skills" and "conflict resolution."
But, that’s not all.
If the couple has children, they are required to take at least four hours of courses on the impact of divorce on children.
Finally, the bill strikes previous language that stated "isolated incident of sexual intercourse between the parties shall not toll the statutory period required for divorce …"
There are two intertwined issues here for lovers of liberty: One is the frank and brazen hypocrisy by state Republicans. The second is, regardless of the context, this bill is big government Nanny State in your face.
Of all the provisions listed above, perhaps the most onerous is the one requiring counseling for those spouses with children.
Do the bill’s authors really think that divorcing parents don’t struggle mightily with how the end of the marriage will affect their children? What audacity it takes to presume that, only after a four-hour government class, it will finally dawn on divorcing parents that their children will be negatively affected. Isn’t this the same government-in-your-face legislation over which Republicans routinely (and correctly) roast Democrats?
A favorite line of fiscal conservatives when it comes to welfare is to leave that work up to churches and charities.
But shouldn’t that also apply to marriage? Aren’t churches and therapists where marriage counseling should originate, not the government?
The two-year waiting period is equally invasive and Nanny-ish.
Who is to say how long a couple should have to wait to divorce? Why is it any of the government’s business? Imagine what this means in situations where one spouse has been victimized, by infidelity or even abuse. Do we really want a woman, for example, to have to wait two years for a divorce from a man who has been abusing her? What about a husband being forced to spend a humiliating two years waiting to get out of a marriage when his wife has already moved in with another man?
And the odd deletion of the clause on marital relations is cause for further concern.
Make no mistake – this bill is all about big government. Republicans apparently are all for freedom when it comes to your wallet, but when it comes to you most intimate personal relationships, freedom takes a vacation and it’s Dr. Phil time.
Here is our remedy:
The Healthy Legislators Act
All legislators contemplating liberty-diminishing bills (such as SB 518) must first submit the bill to a two-year waiting period.
Then, they must attend mandatory courses on "improving bill-writing skills" and "conflict resolution without harming liberty."
Finally … well, we will just end it right there.
Assuming the Healthy Legislators Act doesn’t have legs, we urge the Senate to put the brakes on this overreaching bill and urge Republican legislators to focus on being true to their mantra of being the party of limited government.