Americans for Divorce Reform
John Crouch

Review of Current Events in the Marriage Movement
January through September, 1999

Covenant Marriage passes one house and comes close to passing the other in Texas, Oklahoma, and Oregon. This and other reform bills introduced in many other states but do not pass.

The non-legislative, non-political Covenant Marriage Movement is founded. Focuses on getting couples to sign Covenant Marriage pledge, renew and deepen vows, improve their marriages.

Utah's Gov. Leavitt creates a Commission on Marriage, Okla. Gov. Keating
launches a Governor's Initiative on Marriage, and Ark. Gov. Huckabee
convenes a Governor's Conference on the Family.

Culpeper, Virginia becomes the 100th locality in the U.S. to have a Community Marriage Policy. For more info: http://www.marriagesavers.org

Covenant Marriage and other divorce reforms discussed prominently at National Lawyers Association Midyear Meeting (Feb. 6, Lynn Wardle, Len Munsil, John Crouch) and American Bar Association Annual Meeting (Aug. 8, Katherine Spaht, Maggie Gallagher).

Federal and state efforts to repeal Marriage Penalties continue; relief bill passes both houses of Congress. http://www.divorcereform.org/pen.html

"Smart Marriages" conference in Arlington, Virginia attended by over 1,000 people interested in  new "Marriage Education" and other Marriage Strengthening efforts. The sponsor, the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education has a powerful, unapologetic, optimistic message, and communicates it effectively to the media. Highlights of this 3rd annual conference were efforts to support marriage and fatherhood in the inner city, an invitation to marital therapists to examine their prevailing "neutrality" stance about marriage and divorce, a preventive approach to infidelity, a celebration of marriage strengthening efforts at the state and county levels, and the latest research on the benefits of pre-marital skills training and on the macro-economic costs of divorce. http://www.smartmarriages.com

Prince and his wife announce that they will seek an annullment and then re-confirm their unique relationship in a do-it-yourself symbolic ceremony on their anniversary, Feb. 14, because marriage "contracts are made by man to guarantee the possibility of divorce," whereas their relationship is far more special than that. "Mayte and I are joined for life, and the best way to demonstrate it is to do away with the legal bonds."

Miss Amercia pageant changes its rules to allow divorced women to compete for the title.

International:
*Australian government launches $32 million  "Relate" program  (Relationship Skills for Love, Family and Life) to popularize and support marriage skills training and parenting programs.  It points out that divorce costs the government $3 to 6 billion in direct costs (with a population of 18 million). See http://www.relate.gov.au
*Premier of Victoria, Australia calls for divorce reform.
*U.K. government says it won't implement 1996 Family Law Act, which allowed quick, U.S.-style no-fault divorce.
*China's government proposes limits on no-fault divorce, crackdown on adultery.
*Peru, Chile consider allowing no-fault divorce; Chilean presidential candidate Joaquín Lavín responds, proposing rule similar to Covenant Marriage, but stronger.
*South Africa recognizes wives' rights under tribal customary marriages, making polygamy expensive.

Meanwhile, here at Americans for Divorce Reform -
* Our President, Colleen Fannin, marries John Arnold; moves to Virginia Beach.
* Web site updated. Statistics, legal materials, legislation and news.  http://www.divorcereform.org
* Interactive e-mail discussion listserv on divorce statistics launched; has 62 members.
* "Classic Marriage" legislative proposal is unveiled. Though designed for states where covenant marriage is unpopular, it also has additional pro-marriage features that could be incorporated into present covenant marriage and divorce reform bills. http://www.classicmarriage.com

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