State House passes covenant marriage program

Tuesday, February 22nd 2005, 6:03 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Premarital counseling would be suggested and divorces could be harder to get in Oklahoma under a bill passed by the state House.

The state House passed a measure that would create a covenant marriage program designed to lower the state's divorce rate.

Similar programs are in effect in Louisiana, Arizona and Arkansas.

The idea of covenant marriages has been debated at the state Capitol for eight years. Previous attempts have died in the state Senate or in joint House-Senate conference committees.

The measure would allow couples to voluntarily enter into covenant marriage contracts that require counseling at least 15 days before they apply for a marriage license. The bill also narrows the grounds for a divorce, making it harder to get.

Edmond Representative Ken Miller says he filed the bill because Oklahoma's divorce rate is consistently among the top five in the nation.