It appears that the first major effort since 2006 by a state legislator to roll back so-called “no fault” (unilateral divorce) has been underway since the last session of Texas legislature, sponsored by Rep. Matt Krause, recently re-elected to a third term.
Rep Krause is the son of a Baptist pastor who attended Liberty University School of Law and is a constitutional attorney who opened up a branch of the Christian legal defense firm Liberty Counsel in Fort Worth, TX. The Krauses have four young children and are in their mid-thirties.
From a December 28 post by a local news service:
A one-page bill, filed by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, will make it harder for couples to separate, by ending [the “ground” of] “insupportability”
SIFC: (“insupportability” is functionally equivalent to the civil charge of “irreconcilable differences” in most other states. Liberal bias in the press coverage often deceitfully implies mutuality in the assessment, by paraphrasing in terms like “the couple can no longer stand” to live with each other.)
Per the Texas Statute, as currently enacted:
Sec. 6.001. INSUPPORTABILITY. On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Enacted, 1997
At some point between the original 1970 enactment of unilateral divorce in Texas and 1997, there was a re-write of the statute which Judy Parejko described in her 2001 book, “Stolen Vows”, where the provision for mutuality in the petition was surrepetitiously taken out of the enacted language. From Day 1, the members of the Texas Bar refused to implement the law on that enacted basis, until they finally succeeded in changing it, just prior to the time that attorney Ed Truncellito brought his failed constitutional challenge of the false language in a 2000 case.
The local article continues:
Krause says ending no-fault divorces would keep the family together as well as add protection to the spouse who might not want to split up.
“There needs to be some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense,” said Rep. Krause, who filed the same bill last session. He hopes lawmakers will pick up the issue earlier in the 2017 Legislative session.
He also filed a bill to extend the waiting period for a divorce from 60 days to 180 days.
What would a successful effort by Rep. Krause mean to the community of covenant marriage standers, also to repenting prodigals, in the highly unlikely event that this attempt to repeal “no-fault” (unilateral, non-consenting) divorce succeeds in Texas? As is all too typical in the liberal press, this local article was written in such a way as to misinform the public on both sides of the issue.
Success is actually highly unlikely, especially without ardent support from the churches of Texas, who are more likely to ignore the bill, or give it only tepid support. We attempted to contact Rep. Krause through his Facebook page, to ask him if he at least had the support of his state family policy council, but he did not respond:
We would like to follow the progress of your bill, Rep. Krause. What is the bill #, if we may ask ?
Another question: are you familiar with what author Judy Parejko wrote in her 2001 book, “Stolen Vows” about the original statute language in Texas,and the contrary way it was implemented?
Are there any Family Policy groups supporting you at all?
Thanks, and Godspeed!
We must nevertheless keep praying for the coast-to-coast repeal of unilateral divorce. The bill before the Texas legislature, introduced by Rep. Krause is HB93, whose progress can be followed here. It is telling that its sponsor would like this bill to come up for a vote “earlier in the 2017 session.” That’s because he had to re-introduce it, since it failed to be brought to a vote in the prior session.
Texas does indeed have a family policy council:
The 85th Texas Legislature is dominated by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, so grass-roots citizen efforts to support this bill would appear to be fairly effective, notwithstanding the stiff, well-financed opposition that is likely to come from the Texas Bar Association and the ABA. We would strongly encourage our page followers living in Texas to take several practical steps to give this bill a chance for enactment:
– go to your pastor and make sure he is aware of this bill. It seems to be getting some publicity, but mostly biased and unfair publicity. Ask him to contact Texas Values and state legislators in support of it. Make sure your pastor understands the connection between unilateral divorce and gay marriage / threats to religious liberty, and that “Respondents” to a unilateral divorce petition were the very first Christians to lose their religious liberty on the altars of the Sexual Revolution.
– contact Texas Values yourself, and ask them to support the bill with publicity spend and legislator contacts. To their extreme credit, their page does call out unilateral divorce as an issue. To their discredit, a perusal of their page shows that they’ve not done a blog piece on the bill from the time it was filed in November, 2016 to-date. (You may also need to point out the religious liberty issue to them, and remind them of what was documented in the early constitutional challenge cases by actual Texas judges in the 1970’s.
– do the obvious and keep pressure on your state legislators to support the bill. The other side will most certainly be doing so.
– re-share this post, and ecourage everyone you know to do the same.
– maintain supportive contact with Rep. Krause through the link to his page that we provided above. Pray for him, and let him know it.
For now, we just make a few practical point-outs:
(1) If this succeeds, it’s a necessary matter for full repentence as a nation (and more importantly as a CHURCH) to help stay God’s hand of judgment on this nation at its true root.
(2) The last state to make this sort of attempt was Michigan in 2006. Despite the lonely backing of the Family Research Council, the effort was defeated by heavy, well-funded opposition from the Michigan Bar who argued that people would simply cross state lines to get their “blameless” divorce, saddling the state later on with administering it. (Ironically, most of the fee revenue to attorneys comes for years after the divorce if there are children involved — so this argument, while true in its first point was spurious and dishonest in its totality – just like this article.)
(3) Make no mistake, unless there is an option preserved for MUTUALLY ending a civil-only marriage by agreed peitition with agreed terms (only), this will make it infinitely more costly to repent of an adulterous or sodomus union entered into with someone else’s spouse. Imagine going into family court with a formal charge of adultery saying “I’m the adulterer, and she is as well, because only death dissolves her original covenant marriage, not the State of Texas, Your Honor.” (No 20th-21st century judge has ever cared that the bible makes it clear that remarriage is an ongoing state of adultery, as Jesus repeated in the same words at least 3 recorded times, and that dying in this state is a matter of heaven-or-hell, as Paul stated at least twice.) There was a time when our judges did know this, and when they ruled accordingly.
(4) Repenting prodigals under Texas jurisdiction will need to be prepared to live apart from their noncovenant, counterfeit mate immediately, and for 3 years thereafter if the forced unilateral clause is removed without replacing it with a true mutual “no fault” petition — which (contrary to the bias of the local article), NO state has ever had.
(**Except for Texas, as noted above, but only on the statute books, not in practice or interpretation).
Hopefully, repenting prodigals will realize that man’s law is inferior to God’s law and that the latter is all that is required to live morally and righteously with their true, God-joined spouse. — Expect legal hiccups for the covenant family and fiery censure from the apostate church in the meantime! Here’s where the voice of true Christ-followers in the marriage permanence community is going to need to be more grounded and resolute than ever.
(5) No state is likely to gain any traction on this issue until the neighboring states do. And that’s unlikely until the church stops performing adulterous weddings or signing civil marriage licenses, thereby boycotting the culture of serial polygamy and all of its entrenched instruments including state “jurisdiction”.
Currently, fault-based divorces in Texas must fall into one of six categories: adultery, cruelty, abandonment and a felony conviction, living apart for at least three years or confinement to a mental hospital. Rep. Krause was also quoted on January 8 by Maria Anglin of the San Antonio Express-News as saying he’d like for the three years to be reduced to one year if the petition alleges abandonment – in our opinion, not an improvement since most experts say that the average length of an extramarital infatuation is two years. Texas is one of the few major states that still offers fault-based divorce, with Illinois repealing all fault-based grounds in 2015 in a profoundly immoral overhaul of its “family laws”.
We will do our best to establish contact with Rep. Krause and with Texas Values, so that we can keep you informed of progress.
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!