The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 November 2004

I [snicker at] Huckabees

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and his lovely bride are apparently about to convert their Arkansawyer-Standard Marriage to one of those newfangled Covenant Marriages, as described here.

I'm torn on this particular issue. On the one hand, I am not overly fond of divorce, having gone through one myself, and I've been persuaded for some time that the grounds for divorce in this state are perhaps a bit on the lax side. (Contrary to popular belief, failing to cover the spread at OU-Texas is not considered legal grounds in Oklahoma.) But I'm not so sure that the answer lies in creating a two-tier system: some people may want a double-secret-probationary marriage, and I'm the last person in the world to want to dictate the vows they should take, but if we have a second class of marriage, we don't have much of an argument should some future legislature want to create a third, or a fourth, or a sixty-ninth. In 2002, the Oklahoma legislature considered a measure of this sort, but House and Senate versions could not be reconciled, and the bill was killed.

Rita notes that only about 600 couples have taken this step since Arkansas' covenant-marriage act was enacted in 2001; I'm surprised there have been that many. Governor Huckabee would like to see a thousand couples taking part in the conversion ceremony in North Little Rock on (gag) Valentine's Day.

Maybe what really bugs me about this whole business is this: If a couple really, truly wants a stronger commitment than usual, and is willing to forgo what protections (if that's the word) are offered by way of divorce, do they really need a law to back them up? Try as I may, I can't help but see an element of gimmickry here.

Posted at 11:17 AM to Almost Yogurt

I thought it was about silly myself. Like you say, I don't think divorce should be too easy to get. But if the Gov. wanted us to take a giant step back into the 19th centure, he could've just modified our existing statutes.

It's typical of our Gov's schemes to make us better people, like his 'no candy or pop in schools, eat healthier, exercise and no smoking' drives.

Thanks for the link!

Posted by: rita at 11:24 AM on 9 November 2004

I, for one, have never understood this. During my wedding, I said that I would never leave. That means never, as in never-ever. This 'special marriage' means that folks HAVE to seek counseling before getting a divorce. Sounds like folks that choose this marriage feel that they are MORE inclined to get a divorce and need something (the feds) to save them from themselves.

I think that anyone who gets these 'special marriages' is more weak-willed than somebody that stands up there and says "I Do" and realy means that they do, forever. Say what you mean, Mean what you say. Things are a lot simpler and you end up with fewer lawyers.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 12:27 PM on 9 November 2004

Since the Covenant Marriage is more a religious union than any sort of civil union, doesn't the gimmickry, of necessity, become a part of the deal?

Posted by: unimpressed at 1:26 PM on 9 November 2004

Covenant marriage,born again people, "conversion ceremonies" it all kind of runs in a congruent flow emanating from a kind of post enlightenment cultural Luddite backlash. Alasd, it is totally expected from an unprepared populace in a too much - too soon world. It is however, fun to ponder that somewhere there is perhaps a parallel universe where this kind of stuff is on their version of the Outer Limits.

Posted by: Ron at 9:31 PM on 9 November 2004

Most churches I know consider marriage to be sanctioned by God. How exactly is it that the state is considered a better authority?

If I had it to do over again, I would certainly marry my wonderful bride, but I wouldn't get some irrelevant government license to do it, let alone buy into some idiotic options package cooked up by the politicians.

Posted by: Chris at 10:36 PM on 9 November 2004

Covenant, contract, whatever. No matter what you call it, it's just paper. A little rainy weather will destroy it. A strong relationship doesn't need it, except for other paper-related reasons (taxes and junk). This, naturally, doesn't have anything to do with the non-legally-binding Holy Matrimony stuff, so it's not like I'm knocking that. :)

Terkish Payne, Not In Search Of 2-Ply Marriage (no matter how soft and quilted it is)

Posted by: Terkish Payne at 7:58 AM on 12 November 2004