Marriage Education Legislation - marriage license incentives, TANF set-asides, etc
Divorce Legislation

State Marriage Handbooks

Covenant Legislation

Governor Marriage Initiatives

Federal Legislation


- Letters of support: If you're asked to write your representative in support of marriage legislation, here are examples.
How to Approach Officials/"Why Public Officials Should Support Marriage Initiatives"- Judge Jim Sheridan

 - How States Can Strengthen Marriage: Suggestions for Marriage Strengthening and Preservation Legislation - Diane Sollee, CMFCE
A Marshall Plan for Marriage - The epidemic of family breakdown will not cure itself. Federal, state, and local governments need to remove penalties in the tax code and provide incentives to marriage. Chuck Donovan, Heritage Foundation

 - "How to" RECORDINGS from the Smart Marriages Conference on Legislation & Funding

State Marriage Education Legislation
- Florida was first, other successes in Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Maryland. Also
listed are attempts that failed. Most of the legislation provides a marriage license discount as an incentive to
take a marriage education class. Florida's legislation also included a requirement to teach marriage education in high schools and a divorce education requirement. Newest legislation includes TANF set-asides,
a way to earmark a percentage of state TANF dollars for preventive and remedial marriage education.
States with Marriage License discount incentives for couples that take a Marriage Education class:
Florida (1998) - $32 license discount and waives 3-day wait for couples that take a 4 hr class
Texas ('07)- waives entire $60 license fee for couples that take an 8 hr skills-based class
Georgia ('04) - discount up to county for couples that take a 6 hr class
Minnesota ('01)- $70 discount for couples that take a 12 hr class plus marital inventory
Oklahoma - $45 discount for couples that take a 4 hr class
Tennessee ('02) - $60 discount for marriage education course (hrs not specified)
Maryland ('04)- passed legislation that leaves implementation up to each county
  • Sex Ed Would Also Require Marriage Ed in Wisconsin (failed) - Joanne Haas CNS Correspondent April 27, 2001
  • Texas passes Marriage & Divorce Legislation - June 2007
  • Taiwan passes Marriage Education legislation - Jan 7, 2003

  • Oklahoma: Using Welfare Money to Promote Marriage - Wade Horn, April 4, 2000
  • West Virginia $100 monthly welfare bonus to married couples - 8/01

  • - States with TANF set-asides as of 12/07
    : TX, OH, AZ, CO, UT, NM, NY, AL, GA, OK
    - TANF - The 1% Solution - step-by-step how to recording by Chris Gersten of FAMLI
  • Texas Passes 1% Solution TANF set-aside legislation! - 6/07

  • Marriage Handbooks - developed by STATES as part of their marriage legislation, governor's initiatives, etc. Click to read.

    Divorce Legislation

  • Divorce: Laws, Stats, Covenants & LegislationJohn Crouch, Americans for Divorce Reform
                                                                      - John Crouch, Coalition for Divorce Reform
  • How Divorce Law Affects Divorce Rates -IMAPP Research Brief
  • Reform Divorce Campaign - launched April 2008

  • Georgia Divorce Education passed! - Legislation - 2005

  • Lousiana Passes Landmark Divorce Legislation - 6/06

  • UTAH - passes Divorce "Orientation" Legislation - 3/2007

    TEXAS - proposed Divorce Education Legislation - 2/2009

    Marriage Covenant Legislation:

    Louisiana (1997), Arizona (1998) and Arkansas (2001) have each passed marriage covenant legislation.

    GOVERNOR'S INITIATIVES and Proclamations:

    In 1998 and 1999, for the first time, governors in three states, Utah,
    Oklahoma, and Arkansas publicly made reducing the divorce rate a goal
    of their administration.

    - Utah Governor's Commission on Marriage - In 1998, Governor Michael Leavitt
    organized the nation's first Governor's Commission on Marriage and charged the Commission
    with the task of identifying programs and tools to strengthen
    marriage in the state. He and First Lady Jacalyn Leavitt gave the opening
    address at the 1999 Smart Marriages conference laying out the blueprints
    for Utah's statewide conferences that teach marriage skills to couples.

    - The Okalhoma Marriage Initiative - In his January 1999 inaugural address,
    Governor Frank Keating declared war on divorce and vowed to reduce the divorce rate by
    1/3 by the year 2010 in Oklahoma. In March of 1999, he convened the First Governor's Conference on
    Marriage and a year later, in March, 2000, announced a $10 million dollar
    comprehensive plan using 10% of the state's surplus welfare TANF funds to promote
    awareness of the value of marriage and to provide marriage education programs at all levels.
    ( He and First Lady Cathy Keating
    opened the 2000 Smart Marriages conference and 60 Oklahoma program staff attended
    and shared Oklahoma's plans with the rest of the nation. For comprehensive overview
    and annual updates on this initiative, order recoredings: #'s 755-418, 753-416, 752-201, 751-201,
    "Oklahoma: Leading the Way" at 800-241-7785. 90 min sessions on CD, MP3, cassette: $15 each.

    - In October 1999 Arkansas Governor Huckabee, convened a Governor's Conference on
    the Family declared a marital emergency and called for a 50% reduction of divorce
    in the state and nationally. He encouraged the formation of Community Marriage Policies across
    the state and the nation. In April 2001 he signed the Arkansas Marriage Covenant legislation into law.

    - In 1998, Flordia Governor Lawton Chiles signed "The Florida marriage Preparation and Preservation
    Act of 1998," making Florida the first state to pass marriage education legislation. The act was the
    first to require marriage skills education as part of the state's high school curriculum and the first to
    offer an incentive for couples taking a marriage education skills course before applying for their
    marriage license. The act also mandated divorce education for all couples divorcing with minor children.

    - In January 1999 Florida Gov Jeb Bush became the first governor to sign a Community Marriage Policy.
    Florida Governor Bush First to Endorse Community Marriage Policy - Mike McManus

    - May 1, 2003, Florida created the Commission on Marriage and Family Support. Legislation replaced the Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood with the Commission on Marriage and Family Support. Gov Jeb Bush, in signing the bill, said his goal was to strengthenfamilies - including marriage.

    - 2000, Montana Governor's Conference and Council on Marriage and Families

    - Louisiana Governor's Commission on Marriage and Family
    In March 2001 Governor Mike Foster of Louisiana created the Governor's Commission on Marriage and Family,
    chaired by Representative Sharon Broome and Mr. John Hogue. The Commission intends to examine ways to promote
    marriage, particularly among populations with low marriage rates, and to remove obstacles created by law
    or government that discourage marriage. The Commission receives advice from members of the Governor's staff
    including Ms. Dana Reichert who is in charge of coordinating the expenditure of TANF monies in Louisiana.

  • Louisiana Marriage Proclamation - Governor Mike Foster, February 14, 1999

Oklahoma Marriage Proclamation - Governor Brad Henry, Marriage Week, Feb 2005


Federal Marriage-Strengthening Legislation - eight allowable activities

Testimony on state progress in meeting the family formation goals of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law (The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, P.L.104-193) in consideration of reauthorization and funding of the legislation in 2002. May 22 hearing at House Ways and Means Committee, subcommittee on Human Resources, Wally Herger (CA), Chairman, on Welfare Issues and Marriage, it includes the Hearing Advisory, list of witnesses and their testimony (including Jerry Regier, Mark Anderson, Theo Ooms, David Popenoe, Mike and Harriet McManus, Pat Fagan) and the transcript of the hearing.

Letter - Empowerment Task Force on Strengthening Marriage and Families letter to House and Senate Leaders, Nov 15, 2001

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