Colorado Proposal: Marriage Education Classes Should Be Required

Colorado has a proposed bill on the table that would require couples to undergo marriage education classes prior to actually getting married.

Kids Against Divorce is a California based organization looking to launch a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the effects of divorce on children in the U.S. Their mission is to “transform the pain and suffering of 30 million children of divorce into one loud voice.” They are proposing that states require first time couples take 10 hours of pre-marital classes or counseling, 20 hours for second timers, and 30 hours for those stepping into third marriages.

Proponents David Schel and Sharon Tekolian of Kids Against Divorce told theDenver Post the marriage bill proposal is intended to “better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit.”

In 2009, the divorce rate in Colorado was 4.2 percent, placing it in the top ten highest divorce rates in the country. While the proposal requiring couples to undergo pre-marital counseling would be hotly debated in any state, some are scratching their heads in regards to the choice of Colorado.

After the state became the first to legalize and implement the sale of recreational marijuana, it would seem Colorado would be a difficult place to convince voters they need more regulations for marriage. The proposal needs 86,105 signatures by the time August 4th rolls around. Without the signatures, the bill can not go on the November ballot and will have to wait until another election.

Neil Cavuto had both sides of the issue debate the Colorado proposal on his show.

How will the state determine what curriculum would be certified for the marriage education classes? The proposal states the “Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners” would be responsible for writing and approving the material to be used. This has some opponents asking what gives them the right to determine what should be taught.

The requirement would apply to all marriages, including those who have been widowed. Civil Unions would be excluded, which may lead to an actual decrease in marriages. Also, there would most likely be cost associated with the classes, although it has been suggested that tax breaks be offered for couples who take continuing education classes for their marriages.

What do you think about the Colorado marriage proposal? Should couples be required to take classes before marriage?