Michigan lawmakers have decided to help Michiganders help their marriages by sending them to school.
But Gov. Jennifer Granholm says the solons are butting too far into people’s personal affairs, and will likely veto a 13-bill package that passed in the Senate on Sept. 29. It’s expected to reach her desk soon after the presidential election.
According to her press secretary, Liz Boyd, Granholm feels “the majority of the legislation is far too intrusive.”
Similar legislation was first introduced six years ago, but twice failed to pass. This time around, Rep. Joanne Voorhees (R-Kent), who initiated the legislation, abandoned attempts to amend the state’s no-fault divorce law in the process.
Hot-button topics in the Marriage and Family Preservation Package include what Voorhees says is “encouragement” for couples to undergo four hours of premarital training before receiving a marriage license.
She says the classes are optional, but anyone who skips them has to wait 28 days for their license instead of the customary three. Some option for those ready to get married in a fever.
As an added incentive, pre-nuptialists who do attend said classes would receive a tax credit of up to $50.
“Do we really believe the government should give tax credits to people who attend premarital classes?” Boyd asks. Especially when there’s couchfuls of counseling available through churches and social institutions, adds News Hits.
If signed, the MFPP would also require divorcing couples who are parents, or have custody of a minor child, to attend a “divorce effects program.” This, Voorhees says, is to learn about how a move to splitsville effects their children.
News flash: It’s not good.
This part of the legislation isn’t optional, but a judge can waive the requirement in special cases, such as those involving abuse.
Sen. Samuel “Buzz” Thomas thinks the legislation is a rallying point for conservatives who’d like to set Granholm up to look like she takes an anti-marriage stance. Voorhees, of course, says this is the furthest thing from the truth. After all, she points out, a couple of Democrats, Lisa Wojno (Macomb) and John Gleason (Genessee) co-sponsored the package in the state House.
But Thomas stands by his criticism.
“To me, it’s your business. I don’t think I, as a lawmaker, need to tell you how to live your life,” the Buzz man says.
Maybe if we just made it a law mandating that every public official demonstrate a modicum of common sense before being allowed to take office. …Send comments to [email protected]