Nathan Tabor
February 9, 2005
Should divorce be this easy?
By Nathan Tabor

The debate over gay marriage and the entire homosexual agenda was a point of great contention in the 2004 election cycle, as voters in 13 states passed local marriage-protection amendments. Just this past month, the U.S. Senate reintroduced the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would use the Constitution to define and protect traditional marriage as being the union of one man and one woman.

Of course the radical gay rights activists are livid about this, but they need to face the facts. As decadent as modern America has become, the average citizen still doesn't embrace the idea of unelected judicial tyrants tampering with the sanctity of marriage by sanctioning same-sex nuptials.

But frankly, the real threat to traditional marriage in America does not lie with the future social change agenda of the homosexuals. This column isn't about gay marriage, or even about homosexuals. This is about the demise of traditional marriage — and that occurred more than three decades ago with the advent of "No-Fault Divorce."

When the no-fault doctrine was established as law in the 1970s, the idea of marriage as a permanent bond became less important. "'Til death do us part" became passé, and divorce rates quickly doubled nationwide.

According to the National Center on Health Statistics, 43 percent of all first marriages now end in divorce within 15 years. Second and later marriages fall apart at an even higher rate. Overall, more than 50 percent of all marriages break up in divorce courts. No-fault divorce is a big problem because there is no longer anything to keep a spouse from simply walking out on a marriage.

Children suffer the most. "Only acts of war and the events of natural disasters are more harmful to a child's psyche than the divorce process," states the Newsletter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Bitter child custody fights are often part of the cost of no-fault divorce. What's more, the popular "amicable divorce" myth, where former spouses remain good friends, has been exposed as a deceitful lie. Fully two-thirds of all divorced couples still fester with bitterness toward one another five years later. Sadly, nobody wins.

Honest people know that no-fault divorce has been an unmitigated failure, as Dr. Diane Medved candidly admits in her book, The Case Against Divorce:

"I have to start with a confession: This isn't the book I set out to write .... For example, I started this project believing that people who suffer over an extended period in unhappy marriages ought to get out. . . . I thought that striking down taboos about divorce was another part of the ongoing enlightenment of the women's, civil- rights, and human potential movements of the last twenty-five years. . . . To my utter befuddlement, the extensive research I conducted for this book brought me to one inescapable and irrefutable conclusion: I had been wrong."

Realistically, I know that there are sometimes legitimate reasons for divorce, and not every marriage can or should be saved. But every marriage ceremony should reflect a serious commitment, not just a passing fancy.

We can stop the soaring divorce rate in America by discarding the failed no-fault divorce model and toughening the laws on getting a divorce. Laws proposed in many states say that when a couple has children under 18, they can only get a no-fault divorce if they both consent to it. Specific information is available on the website of Americans for Divorce Reform (www.divorcereform.org).

By abolishing no-fault divorce, couples and their children will find real security in their marriages, the way most people used to. They will be more willing to invest their efforts in building a family, if they know it won't all be taken away from them against their will by an arbitrary, unavoidable divorce decree.

Think about this idea as an option. You have to wait days to purchase to a gun. Why not make couples wait awhile to get a divorce? That will give them a chance to cool down. Some states already require an extended separation period before a divorce can be finalized, but many don't. Other bills include proposals to encourage counseling and let couples choose what will be grounds for divorce in their marriage.

One refreshing idea called "Covenant Marriage" has already become law in Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona. Just think: Holy Matrimony as a solemn, binding covenant, freely entered into by a man and woman who fully intend to spend the rest of their lives together — now isn't that an intriguing notion?

Forget the radical homosexuals. Heterosexuals need to set the example and take the lead in strengthening the foundations of traditional marriage.

© Nathan Tabor

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