Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Jokes Write Themselves

Arizona may be the single best state to be blogging from these days, as its legislature is the gift that just keeps on giving. The newest proposed attempt to annoy the citizenry--amazingly enough, aimed at straight people this time--comes from perennial all-star Rep. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), who wants to require people to be super duper double dog secret squirrel sure they want to be divorced before they can, well, finalize things and move on with their lives.
State lawmakers are moving to make couples who have decided their marriage isn't working wait four months longer to divorce.

And those with children would first have to go through education programs telling them about alternatives to divorce and the resources available to improve or strengthen their marriages.

Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, the sponsor of HB 2650, said she believes requiring couples to wait 180 days will result in more people deciding they actually should stay together.

And, surprise surprise, the driving force behind this one is the Center for Arizona Policy, a group that has been a chronic burr under the saddle of gay, liberal, progressive, inclusive, non-racist, and other reality-based factions in the state for some time. One the one hand, it's gratifying to see them taking baby steps toward the logical conclusion their perpetual sanctity-of-marriage must lead to (banning divorce); it's always nice when hypocrisy of any stripe gets dialed down a notch. It's also inevitable, however, that this must go hand in hand with some unintended consequences, such as imposing undue hardships on people whose marriages are abusive or simply over.

Colleen McNally, the presiding family court judge for Maricopa County, warned that stretching out the process actually could be dangerous. She said domestic-violence attacks actually increase the moment a spouse tries to get out of an abusive marriage.

Barto said she is willing to alter her measure when it goes to the full House to keep the waiting period at 60 days for domestic-violence victims. But foes said that still doesn't answer the question of why the state should be prolonging decisions that may have been mutually agreed on by couples.

So, just to review the past 48 hours in Arizona, we have (1) one legislator who believes adults don't have the right to consume alcohol if they're receiving any form of government assistance, and now (2) another who believes adults don't have the right to quickly end a legal arrangement they both agree isn't working out for them. And if you want to go back a full 72 hours, (3) yet another state representative thinks voters shouldn't be allowed to choose their U.S. Senate candidates in primaries, but should leave the nominating process to the brainiacs in Phoenix who brought you nos. (1) and (2) above.

Coming from Illinois, this level of hackery is almost cute in a toddler sort of way--I mean, no money, patronage, or Senate seats are changing hands--but still, I gotta live here. When Jon Kyl and John McCain have gravitas in comparison to the minor leagues, there's a problem.

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