A California group dedicated to reducing divorce is promoting a ballot initiative in Colorado that would require prospective spouses to complete at least 10 hours of “marriage education” before being allowed to say “I do.”
The group, Kids Against Divorce, says that a marriage license should come with a minimum amount of instruction on how to be a good husband or wife and how to be good parents.
“We feel marriage license laws need to be amended such that a marriage license be treated as any other license,” according to the organization’s website.
“[A] minimal level of required education [will] better prepare individuals going into a marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent,” the site says.
The proposal, which requires more than 86,000 signatures to appear on Colorado’s 2014 ballot, would require future spouses to obtain at least 10 hours of instruction in wedded bliss. Second and third marriages require 20 and 30 hours of classroom time, respectively. The additional-instruction requirement wouldn’t apply to widows or widowers who are remarrying.
The law wouldn’t apply to civil unions.
“This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard,” recently remarried Alyx Reese-Giles told the Denver Post. “The government has no business deciding what education people should or should not get before entering into marriage. Marriage is about communication and being ready to commit, and no class is going to teach you that.”
But organization spokeswoman Sharon Tekolian told the Post that the initiative will save billions spent on divorce and serve to strengthen families for the benefit of children.
“Education is the key to success in every aspect of life,” she said. “This will have a positive impact on marriage.”
The Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners would run the program if it’s adopted, only issuing marriage licenses to those who complete the curriculum. Couples must pay for the education.
“It’s another attempt to say who can and can’t be married,” Reese-Giles told the Post, “so if you are poor and you can’t afford the class, then you can’t get married.”
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