Well, The Daily Show introduced me to the term "convenant marriage," and even after reading this New York Times article, I gotta say, I still don't get it.
Okay, I get it, but I'm slack-jawed at it's existence:
Covenant marriage was born out of growing concern about the rise of single-parent families, especially among the poor, and unease among conservatives about no-fault divorce laws, which they say make it too easy to end a marriage.Okay, but, maybe some more pre-marriage counseling is in order? This legal device seems like a rather flimsy band-aid on the actual problem, as I'm understanding it to be from the proponents - the demise of marriage as an institution. Asking someone to submit additional paperwork to ensure they can start planning that golden anniversary party doesn't make much sense, does it? As with those seeking to lower the number of abortions (which is a much better goal than simply overturning Roe v. Wade, which doesn't guarantee fewer abortions), it seems money could be better spent on community based programs encouraging loyalty, commitment, etc. That would be privately funded programs, by the way, since I can imagine few states where they wouldn't be dominated by establishment-clause-violating religious efforts.
There is also some embarrassment among religious and political leaders in the Bible Belt that many of its states, including Arkansas, have some of the nation's highest divorce rates.
"We really feel the no-fault culture has been destructive," said Dennis Rainey, president of Family Life, a Christian group based in Little Rock. "There's something wrong when it's easier to get out of a marriage than it is to get out of a contract to buy a used car."
Marriage, for most people, already includes to-death-do-us-part language. Somehow, I can't see "but you signed the contract!" keeping someone around when it's really over. If the ring doesn't do it, neither will a loophole-ridden marriage rider.