The Florida Family Policy Council, headed by John Stemberger, has announced the launch of “Strong Marriages Florida.” This proposed legislation will make people applying for a marriage license pay an additional $100.00 in addition to the present cost of the license and attend eight hours of premarital counseling sessions using a 150 question “premarital inventory” identifying areas where potential spouses disagree. This inventory also asks if the couple is living together already, which is discouraged by the counseling.
According to Stemberger, those who attend the counseling would get the $100.00 back. The money from those who don’t attend counseling will be funneled through the Department of Children and Families into a Marriage Education Trust Fund to fund faith-based premarital counseling groups. Not just any faith-based groups, mind you, only the ones that believe as the group backing the proposal do. The Florida Family Policy Council, associated with Focus on the Family, is working with Live the Life and Marriage Savers on this proposed legislation.
Marriage Savers states on their website these threats to marriage and society: divorce, cohabitation, unwed births, and people choosing not to marry.
Part of his supposed reasoning is that this initiative would save the state $100 million by reducing divorces in Florida by 10%, and divorce costs the state by causing poverty in single parent households.
Steinberger is quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying "Basically, when we succeeded with Amendment 2, we asked ourselves: What do we want to do next? We wanted to do something big."
Ok, so last fall, the notion of same sex marriage was the biggest threat to the institution of marriage. Now it’s divorce, cohabitation, and folks who choose not to marry. Which is it? I’d really like to know. I am a straight, married mother of three. I would really like someone to explain to me how same sex marriage, other couples’ divorce, other people not marrying, living together or not will affect my marriage, because I have not figured out how.
However, that is not the issue. The issue is that Stemberger and his lot are not content with the passing of Amendment 2 in Florida and Proposition 8 in California, and other laws like these that have passed against same sex marriage. Now he has to keep going and meddle in more people’s lives.
These people say that they want more people to marry and stay married. They say that cohabitation, divorce, and just plain not marrying are the problem with society, and yet, they propose laws that make it harder and more expensive to get a marriage license. Of course, the same proposal would make it harder to get a divorce, too. No more no fault divorce, and a one year waiting period from filing to finalization. The counseling, according to their websites will help to strengthen marriages and stabilize crisis marriages. The whole idea behind this is to make it more difficult to get divorced.
This thinking is not only backward, but for some, dangerous, maybe even life threatening. If someone is a victim of spousal abuse, for instance, she or he, once they make their escape plan and leave, dragging out the divorce would make the situation more dangerous.
If this legislation were to pass, it would be counterproductive, not only society, but also to their cause, as fewer people could afford the marriage license and would just live together.
These people managed to introduce Prop 8 and Amendment 2 and get them passed. Now, they’re introducing this “Strong Marriages Florida” to get more of what they want passed into law. How long are we the people going to let this go on? Amendment 2 and Prop 8 passed because people thought that it looked good on the surface, without much thought about how the laws affect others. And here they go again, “doing something big” to follow it.
We the people need to look at the proposals that come up for vote, and read them thoroughly, and think them through before we vote on them.
Many people voted yes on Prop 8 and Amendment 2 because it denied rights to the gays and lesbians and not them. Maybe the voters wanted to deny rights to gays and lesbians, and maybe they just didn’t think it through. So now they’re messing with heterosexual marriages and relationships. What’s next? Think before you vote, people.
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.