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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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I’d rather have half my stuff than all of you: Rep. Peggy Wallace has no business pushing divorce reform

Do you want the Utah Legislature deciding on what grounds you can get a divorce?

House Bill 56, proposed by Rep. Peggy Wallace, R-West Jordan, would virtually eliminate no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences-the most common grounds for dissolving a marriage.

Currently, HB 56 has been put into a Divorce Task Force, but once investigations are complete in Nov., Wallace plans on resubmitting the bill to the House during the next session. Wallace, who has never married, is quite critical of an institution she has never experienced.

The West Jordan representative was quoted by the Deseret News saying there should be “more shame” involved in divorce and also that “some people should never marry in the first place.”

What a supportive legislator we have in our state government.

Rather than passing a bill limiting divorce, why not come up with more proactive solutions to keep Utah’s families together? Pre-marriage counseling, requiring mediation before divorce proceedings and educating people on the adjustments of married life are just a few of my suggestions.

Personally, I don’t believe in divorce. When I get married, I plan on staying married, whatever the circumstances. Divorce not only goes against my personal beliefs, but I am a product of divorce and feel that no child should experience the pain of a family splitting up.

That said, I don’t feel my local government (especially someone who has NEVER been married) has the right to dictate the grounds on which its citizens can obtain a divorce if necessary-nor should you.

Has Rep. Wallace read the Constitution of the United States? The 14th Amendment protects the privacy of family, marriage, motherhood, procreation and child rearing.

Opponents of HB 56 are concerned that by eliminating “no-fault” divorce, women and children will be put at greater risk when trying to leave a volatile relationship. This is Wallace’s idea of “protecting the family?”

We live in a culture that supports early, quick marriage but doesn’t support its citizens when they realize they aren’t ready. Shouldn’t legislators be more worried about people rushing into marriage and not being prepared, rather than those who have realized it’s not right for them and are trying to fix the situation?

Utah’s “race to the altar” mentality is what could be detrimental to Utah families-not divorce for legitimate reasons.

If Bill 56 is accepted and passed next session, people seeking a divorce who have been married for more than 10 years, have children who are minors, or a spouse who objects will have a tougher time obtaining a divorce.

HB 56 would not make it impossible to divorce, but proof would need to be shown. Do you want to have to prove your husband was impotent? Or that your wife is “incurably insane?” Does that put enough shame into the divorce process, Rep. Wallace?

Supporters of the bill argue that it’s just trying to protect Utah’s families, but both the decision to get married and the decision to divorce are very personal and private and should not be dictated by the government.

If this bill is passed, Utahns’ civil liberties will be infringed upon.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or personal beliefs, individuals should be concerned with the growing number of bills thatare attempting to take away civil liberties in Utah.

First it was Rep. Wayne Harris, R-West Jordan, who proposed HB 202 that would eliminate much of the headway Utah Division of Child and Family Services has made in the state. Now, Rep. Wallace proposes to protect Utah’s families further.

Why don’t the West Jordan representatives concern themselves with their own families, rather than imposing their narrow-minded beliefs on their constituents? Even more so, Rep. Wallace should first get married and start her own family and then criticize the institution of marriage and divorce.

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