Thanks to Francis for pointing out this post arguing against covenant marriages." I knew I felt a little icky about this movement, which is currently making headlines in Arkansas, but couldn't exactly explain why.
"Covenant Marriage" implicitly suggests that people won't stay married unless they subject themselves to onerous governmental restrictions on their personal freedoms; basically, it's the state telling you that it expects you to get a divorce at some point, unless it makes it too annoying for you to get a divorce to make it worth your while.
Call me a cynic, but I also suspect that Governor Huckabee's motivation in pushing covenant marriages stems as much from the idea of preventing divorce as it does from protecting so-called traditional marriages from homosexuals. Facing a growing threat from so-called "activist judges," it probably occurred to the governor that high divorce rates weren't exactly bolstering the claim that legalizing gay marriage would somehow threaten heterosexual marriages. Arkansas has the second highest divorce rate in the country - the top prize goes to Nevada - and probably wants to board up its glass house before it starts thowing stones.
Scalzi argues that if there's anything good in the Arkansas covenant marriage movement, it's that it forces those who take the pledge to engage in pre-marital counseling which might prevent bad marriages in the first place. There's no question that more successful marriages are in the best interests of everyone - except divorce lawyers, of course - but I'm skeptical of getting the government more involved in this process, as those who favor covenant marriages would like to see happen. Once the government starts requiring pre-marital counseling, we'll only be one step closer to a law allowing the government to dictate the content of that counseling.
After all, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed J. Leon Holmes, a judicial nominee who once wrote, “The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church/and as the Church subordinates herself to Christ, in that manner the wife is to subordinate herself to Christ.” Judge Holmes now serves on a U.S. District Court in - guess where? - Arkansas.Posted by Doug at February 17, 2005 01:34 PM