Attention residents of Colorado, attention residents of Colorado: if you want to recklessly rush into marriage with someone, now’s the time to do it. As KDVR Fox 31 Denver News is reporting, there is currently a push to get an initiative on this coming November’s ballot that would, “require people who want to get married to take pre-wedding marriage classes.”
The Denver Posts reports that the main group behind this is the California-based, Kids Against Divorce (KAD). KAD’s “vision” is to “prevent tomorrow’s victims of divorce by raising awareness on the overall issue including the devastating effects of it, by educating people to be better equipped going into marriage, and by honoring those fully committed to their marriage and therefore providing a stable family foundation for their children.”
How would it work? KDVR writes that “it would require 10 hours of classes if it’s your first marriage. Twenty hours would be required for second marriages and 30 hours for third marriages.” The Denver Post notes that it would be overseen by the Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners. After fulfilling the hour requirement, the couple would be issued a “marriage course completion certificate.” They’d also be on the hook to pay for the counseling. Civil unions would not be under the same requirements.
State Senator Pat Steadman (D) doesn’t seem to be a fan of the idea. He told KDVR, “I think it’s putting government in the wrong role, in terms of being involved in people’s personal lives.” Margie Rodgers, who actually did go through premarital counseling through her church, told the Denver Post, “"I don't think it is necessary to mandate in my private life.”
On the other side, KDVR spoke with clinical psychologist Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, who thinks the proposal wouldn’t hurt. Dr. Ziegler told the station, “If anything negative were to come out of it, it might be that the couple realizes that they have a lot of incompatibilities, and that they have choices to make, now before they get married, in terms of either fixing those things or coming to the realization that they’re not compatible.” Sharon Tekolian, of KAD, thinks the education counseling provides will make a positive impact.
KAD will have to gather 86,000 signatures by August for it to make the ballot. That might be too much of an uphill battle for a group that doesn’t even have 500 likes on Facebook. Neither the Denver Post nor KDVR mentioned why Kids Against Divorce has chosen Colorado as the first state they’ll try to enact this measure.