Divorce and the “Public Interest”

Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, has introduced a bill that will end no-fault divorces in Texas. The conservative legislator believes that it’s too easy to get a divorce.

I don’t know if we don’t take our vows as seriously as we used to, but I think getting rid of the no-fault divorce piece of this may make folks concentrate on this a little harder before they enter into that relationship, or stick it out to where they can restore that relationship and the tough times in marriage.

If Krause’s bill passes, it would make Texas the only state without the option of a no-fault divorce.

The Chronicle reports that the bill would require couples to live apart for three years before they could obtain a “peaceful” divorce.

Those opposed to waiting would have to accuse their partners of cruelty or adultery, or allege their partner abandoned them after a year living apart. Other grounds include conviction of a felony or confinement in a mental hospital.

Absent cruelty or adultery, a couple would be forced to commit perjury or wait three years to obtain a divorce. Divorce is difficult enough without the government sticking its nose into the process and mandating arbitrary waiting periods.

Let us assume that Krause is correct when he surmises that people may marry or divorce without sufficient thought. So? People make all kinds of decisions without sufficient thought. Does that justify the government mandating a waiting period before we have a child, purchase a car, or select an investment plan? Government intervention isn’t the solution to poor decision making.

Not surprisingly, Krause justifies his theocratic bill on a collectivist premise:

“They still have every right, whether they’re going to get into that union or not,” Krause said. “But once they do, I don’t think it’s bad for the state to say, ‘Hey, if you’re doing this and you’re entering into this union, let’s make sure you’re very serious about it,’ knowing the societal benefits that can happen when there’s a happy married couple and knowing the societal concern that we see as a consequence when there’s a proliferation of divorces.”

To Krause, “societal benefits” and “societal concerns” supersede the choices of individuals. According to Krause, it is proper for society to impose its views upon individuals. Of course, Krause is not alone in advocating collectivism. We are routinely told that we must put aside our self-interest in deference to the “public interest.”

Krause wants us to believe that extending the misery of divorce will somehow benefit society. He is wrong. And his bill is immoral.

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