I love when I come across something completely new. I especially love when that something proves to be one of the most retarded things I have ever heard of and I am reassured that this world will continue to be an endless source of absurdities for my own personal amusement.
I finally got my hands on a copy of Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming earlier this summer, but my reading was interrupted by visitors and teaching and then Harry Potter. I finally picked it back up this afternoon and found myself in the middle of the chapter subtitled ‘The Political Uses of Homophobia’. The first paragraph I read was about Valentine’s Day 2005 – when Janet and Mike Huckabee publicly converted their marriage into a ‘covenant marriage’. I had never heard of covenant marriage and was gobsmacked that such a thing even existed.
But exist it does in three states in The New Amerika – Arkansas, Louisiana and Arizona. A covenant marriage is a kind of super marriage or higher marriage or I actually have no idea what it’s meant to be. And I have absolutely no understanding of why anyone would do it, or even why it’s codified in statute.
I have looked at the covenant marriage legislation of all three states and they are nearly identical. All covenant marriage really does is make it harder for a couple to divorce. There is a finite list of reasons for divorce and the couple has to live apart for two years, which itself can be a reason. Have a look at these, lifted from Louisiana’s Covenant Marriage Law of 1998:
(1) The other spouse has committed adultery.
(2) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
(3) The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for a period of one year and constantly refuses to return.
(4) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses.
(5) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years.
(6) On account of habitual intemperance of the other spouse, or excesses, cruel treatment, or outrages of the other spouse, if such habitual intemperance, or such ill-treatment is of such a nature as to render their living together insupportable.
You can still get a standard marriage in all three of those states.
There are certainly exceptions, but most people who marry do it with the intention of staying married. And when you find you do need to divorce, it’s fucking hard enough without any of the extra nonsense of a covenant marriage – legally, emotionally and socially. I don’t get it.
Back to those freak Huckabees and their public spectacle as described by Michelle Goldberg:
The highlight of the night was the Huckabees’ conversion of their marriage and restatement of their vows, including Janet’s pledge to “submit” to Mike. When they were done, they invited the audience to repeat their promises. Thousands of wives, some in evening gowns or wedding veils, vowed to submit to thousands of husbands…
And now I might vomit.