If the Alabama legislature has its way, it will be much harder for married people to get divorced in the state.
The Associated Press reports that a State Senate committee last week approved a so called covenant marriage bill that puts all sorts of conditions on getting divorced.
"(The bill) was designed in part to say that we believe the family unit is the backbone of our society and is worth preserving," said sponsor Sen. Phil Williams. "It simply provides an option, and I stress, it's simply an option."
Williams points to Alabama's high divorce rate -- 12.7 per 1000 marriages, the fourth highest in the nation.
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There was one "no" vote in the committee.
"Just don't feel like it's necessary," said Sen. Cam Ward. "When people get married, they make a pact before God. Seems like when you get married, you pledge to stay married. I don't see the need for a super contract."
The AP writes that in addition to requiring a couple to seek counseling before getting divorced, the other conditions include:
-- One spouse has committed adultery
-- A spouse abandons the shared home and refuses to return for at least one year
-- The other spouse physically, emotionally or sexually abuses the spouse seeking divorce or one of the couple's children
-- The spouses have been living apart for at least two years