Friday, October 7, 2016
Good News (out of Harrisburg)
I'm not the biggest fan of the Pennsylvania Legislature, so it's refreshing when they actually accomplish something good, especially so when the intent is to try and make something bad a bit more bearable.
Credit to (local) Representative Tara Toohil for sponsoring a legislation that will make the no-fault divorce process in Pennsylvania a bit easier. You can read the specifics HERE.
I speak with some experience on the divorce front, although to the best of my knowledge I've rarely to almost never written about my own divorce in this blog, for a very good reason: It was painful, and I consider myself lucky in that it could have been worse. Mostly, I'm glad that I'll have to go through it again (as in Ms. Rivers is stuck with me, basically forever).
Now the argument could be made by the conservative religious types that anything which makes the process of obtaining a divorce easier is inherently bad. Me? I think that's just ridiculous. In fairness, you can read an article that's critical of no-fault divorce laws HERE. Divorce is at its heart conceptually...emotionally...financially...very difficult. No mentally healthy person undertakes it lightly, which is all the more reason for the government to do whatever it can to not make a bad situation worse.
As a side note, if one's religion teaches that divorce is unacceptable, well then that's a bit of a pickle for adherents to that faith, is it not? What it shouldn't be though is a matter of public policy. Part of what government in the United States does is protect me from your religion (and you from mine). It's a beautiful and simple system. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise thereof;". Yes, adherents are free to shout out their beliefs until their lungs practically burst, but they aren't free to use the law to make their beliefs a matter of public policy.
What this new legislation does is inch Pennsylvania state government just a tiny bit further out of the divorce regulation business. I do recognize that, conceptually, divorce is a matter of contract law, so there should be some regulation. However, the best regulations are those that achieve the desired outcome with the least amount of interference into people's lives. That's a very good thing for all of us.