Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Texas state representative Warren Chisum caused a stir awhile back when his proposal to ban gay marriage (which, unfortunately, passed) was found to be so poorly-worded that it could be interpreted to be a ban on all marriage.
Well, now he's back in the news, only it's not as funny and what he proposes really will affect all new marriages.
Debate over government's role in matters of love, marriage and divorce begins today when the Texas House considers a bill doubling marriage license fees to $60 unless couples take premarital classes.Given that many (if not most) such classes are offered by religious institutions, this amounts to the government promoting religion. But that's not all.
Couples agreeing to eight-hour courses in conflict management and communication skills would get their marriage licenses free under the bill sponsored by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, a leading House conservative.
Chisum's bill, with its carrot-and-stick approach, is part of the Texas Conservative Coalition agenda to ease the demand for poverty programs by reducing divorce rates that can financially hurt the newly single.So much for the idea that we should abolish welfare (or even cut it back) because it depends on the theft of money from countless individuals. But don't take my word for it....
The package could create voluntary "covenant" marriage contracts with tougher conditions to discourage divorce and lengthen waiting periods for no-fault divorces unless couples undergo marriage crisis classes.
"It's in the state's interest for marriages to be saved," said John Colyandro, the coalition's executive director. "A lot of single-parent households are in poverty. Once they're in poverty, that makes them eligible for a whole host of programs they might not otherwise be involved with." [bold added]
Chisum's bills requiring premarital classes and crisis classes for marriages in trouble include a separate funding proposal for low-income Texans.You know the Republicans have ceased to be in any respect champions of individual rights when a it takes a leftist journalist and a pack of Democrats to make the following correct appraisal of GOP legislation:
It would tap into nearly $10 million in a federal welfare block grant to help pay for the classes.
"We're saying families are important to us," Chisum said Tuesday. "If that's the nanny state, then so we are. We're very pro-family." [bold added]
[C]ritics say the proposed measures -- especially those lengthening waiting periods for divorces -- amount to government intrusion into private lives. While Republicans have long decried the "nanny state" of liberal social safety nets, some House Democrats now complain about GOP meddling into highly personal decisions they say are best left to individuals.I once had to get divorced, and I was lucky, because it was about as "good" as a divorce can get. It was still one of the hardest things I ever had to do, and I hope I never have to go through anything like it again. How dare some Bible-thumper presume -- on the basis that divorce is somehow "easy" -- to force everyone else to swallow his snake oil before getting married!
And, far more despicable, how dare Chisum presume that we are all somehow wards of the state.