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Next Big Conservative Issue? Making It Harder To Get A Divorce

Why don't the Republicans just call themselves the party of "Back to the Future"?
Next Big Conservative Issue? Making It Harder To Get A Divorce
Image from: Elvert Barnes

And after they accomplish this, they can work on forcing women to dress like the Mormon fundamentalists in "Big Love"! Talk about a winning issue! But let's not miss the main point here: Extremists have been very effective is passing legislation that was unthinkable 30 years ago:

For years, social conservatives have been fighting to prevent certain people from getting married. But they’re waging a parallel battle, too: Trying to keep married couples together.

In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. In recent years, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced bills imposing longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted, mandating counseling courses or limiting the reasons a couple can formally split. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Utah have already passed such laws, while others such as Oklahoma and Alabama are moving to do so.

If divorces are tougher to obtain, social conservatives argue, fewer marriages will end. And having more married couples is not just desirable in its own right but is a social good, they say. During his presidential campaign, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) emphasized finishing high school and getting married as cures for poverty. “If you do those two things, you will be successful economically,” he declared at a 2011 event in Iowa.

A legislative movement against divorce may seem like a non-starter in a country where half of married couples avail themselves of this right, but as with legal challenges to Obamacare and the rise of the tea party movement, today’s fringe idea can quickly become tomorrow’s mainstream conservatism.

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