Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Colorado to Require Education Classes Prior to Marriage?

Lumped onto the hours spent debating centerpieces, picking a photographer, finding the perfect dress and corralling future in-laws, the proposed Colorado Marriage Education Act calls for 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education.
Yes, that's right, campers. State sponsored marriage school. There are people out there who think the State of Colorado should be involved in counseling you on your impending marriage. The mind boggles.

First (and let's get this straight right from the start) the government has absolutely no business trying to prescriptively tell people what does and does not constitute good marriage advice. Second, assuming they do this, what are they going to teach people?

I've been married for nine years, have a good matrimonial litigation practice, and I still don't consider myself qualified to give other people marital advice.

Here's the thing, though. The people pushing for this program are doing it with good intentions. Their stated goal is to: "better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit."

That's an admirable goal. Who could be against protecting children, right? Is there anyone out there against protecting children? This group of people is probably a really "family values" group that has a foundation in historical Christian values, and they probably truly want to see children protected and marriages succeed. They're probably Republicans. Those are certainly admirable goals.

However, the manner in which they are going about achieving these goals is the problem -- they're using the legal force of the law and the arm of government to require people to sit through their education classes.

This strain of Republican really bothers me. Like their Democratic counterparts, they think they know better than the rest of us, and if only we would let them be in charge everything would be better. Democrats tend to think they can do this in almost every aspect of our lives, so they're usually in favor of using the government to force people to do things that they might not voluntarily do.

Can't people be just left alone to marry anymore without some scolds or nags telling us everything that we need to do? I mean, isn't that going to happen anyway once we get married?

Just kidding, ladies.

In all seriousness though, there's nothing wrong with attending classes prior to getting married. Heck, I did that through my church about nine years ago. But that was a voluntary choice. A voluntary choice is the polar opposite of the government requiring you to do something as a precondition.

C. S. Lewis had a quote about this: 

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."



  1. Bill Clinton approves of this educational opportunity.

    1. They should require education classes for anyone wanting to run for office.