Vail Daily column: Colorado’s proposed Marriage Education Act
February 4, 2014
Ah … yeah.
OK, OK, I get it. It's all laudatory and stuff. But c'mon. Really? Aren't there enough real things going on in the world to focus our attention? Like if the Bieb is gonna get deported? Like if the Amanda Knox appeals will stretch into the next century? Like if Rob Ford is gonna pull Marion Barry out of a hat and get re-elected.
I could go on … what dumb thing will Phil Robertson, Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern say next?
But I'll resist.
If it’s your second time down the aisle, the presumption is that you have learned less than nothing. ... You will need remedial training.
Isn't it enough that there's a halo cam on every corner, that the NSA knows more about you than your mom, that the Target hackers know your dress size, my shoe size and enough to put a permanent kibosh on blue light specials?
But … ah … a marriage education law? Really? What are those folks smokin'? Oh yeah, that was decided in the last election.
So here's how it goes.
Some yahoo (or to be fair, yahooette) has too much time or his or her hands. Instead of taking up a good hobby he or she instead thinks it would be just swell if not exactly to have Big Brother in your bed, then at least to have some say in who you get in bed with. No, no, not just any bed; presumably trysts would remain off limit. It's just who you get into your marital bed with that's of interest.
All I can come up with is an "hmmmm."
MANDATORY MARRIAGE CLASSES
If one's impending marriage wasn't stressful enough, under a proposed law that's being pitched, some folks seem to think it would be just dandy — and would preserve both home and hearth — if prior to exchanging rings and nuptials, one and all were made subject to mandatory marriage classes.
Go back and read that slowly. Before one could enjoy the state of wedded bliss, under this proposal the state would compel a couple to attend — and presumably stay awake through — 10 hours of compulsory learin' about how to be a couple.
'BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE'
But as Bill Mays was fond of saying, "But wait, there's more!" If it's your second time down the aisle, the presumption is that you have learned less than nothing. If fact, you've probably regressed. Rather than learning from your first trial balloon, you not only popped the balloon, but it likely shrunk your brain as well. Accordingly, under the proposed law, the state would compel a double dip. That's right, if your first marriage went kaput, you will need remedial training; rather than a mere 10 hours, you will have to complete 20 before you say, "I do … ahem, again."
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM?
And if the third time's the charm, you will have won the trifecta; you get to take your newly soon-to-be-betrothed to 30 hours of institutionalized canoodling. Awww.
You see, it all makes perfect sense; if we just knew what we were getting into, maybe we wouldn't get into it. Or maybe, with our eyes wide open, it would ensure that the divorce rate, domestic violence, abandoned children, lint in your pockets and all the rest, would be cut, as if by Zorro's sword, in half.
A quick aside: Did your junior high school sex ed class in any way determine the outcome of your sex life?
Please keep this to yourself. I don't want to know the answer forgodsake. Just ruminate on it a bit and satisfy yourself. Then, once done ruminating, apply it to the subject at hand.
Do you really think that going to a marriage class is going to anymore affect your marriage than going to a Rockies game affects your curve ball?
You might have guessed, I think it's kind of a silly idea. To say nothing about it being none of the government's business, and not likely to make the slightest dent in either the divorce rate or the universe. All I see it as is a boondoggle that, one way or another, is going to take your time, your money, and lean like a gorilla on your patience.
COMING TO A BALLOT NEAR YOU
The proposed Marriage Education Act appears to be coming to a ballot near you soon. At least, if it becomes law, The People get to fashion their own noose. It not like the legislators will be shoving this down our throats. Although, I can feel in the air already, that this might be the new litmus test; are you for it or agin' it? Particularly if some politician can figure out how to dress up this particular sow's ear in silken red white and blue.
Now, let me go on record with this. Some religious denominations suggest — some rather strongly – that the affianced couple learn a thing or two about the state of wedded bliss before jumping in with both feet. But, see … that's voluntary. A couple can decide of their own free will what church they will or will not belong to and, for now at least, the state's nose is out of that particular decision.
Advocates need 86,105 valid signatures by the Aug. 4 deadline to put the initiative on the November ballot. Who's behind this? Yup, California. In particular a group called Kids Against Divorce. Is someone really for divorce? Anyway, the group intends to put this on the ballot in several states. For some reason, Colorado is the first.
By the way, I have been with my wife for 34 years this month. We didn't know nathin' about marriage when we started down this road. And so far, it's working out just fine. I guess we just got lucky. Or else, we had enough on the ball to figure it for ourselves. And, oh yeah, it's really not that hard; talk, say you're sorry, don't hold grudges, be nice to one another. There, I just saved you 10 hours in a plastic bucket chair.
Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the bars of Colorado and California who practices in the Vail Valley with the law firm of Stevens, Littman, Biddision, Tharp and Weinberg LLC. His practice areas include business and commercial transactions, real estate and development, family law, custody, divorce and civil litigation. He may be heard on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on KZYR radio (97.7 FM) and seen on ECOTV 18 as host of "Community Focus." Robbins may be reached at 970-926-4461 or at either of his email addresses, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.