Premarital counseling defeated
BY TAMMIE SMITH
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 16, 2002
An attempt to require people to go through eight hours of
counseling before tying the knot died in a House committee
Del. Robert F. McDonnell, R-Virginia Beach, had offered the bill
as a way
to reduce Virginia's divorce rate among first-time married couples,
he said is 51 percent.
"I think eight hours of investment in time is not too much to
ask for a
lifelong commitment," said McDonnnell, a member of the House
Welfare and Institutions committee, which took up the bill
yesterday in its
first meeting of the session.
McDonnell said several other states require premarital
committee killed the bill by a 14-8 vote.
"If we start down this road, we may have to require counseling
intercourse, before having children," said Del. Robert D. Orrock
"I agree with the intent, but I don't think this gets us there,"
Orrock, who said he and his wife had counseling before they
Legislators also questioned whether the bill would result in
or simply drive people to nearby states to get married or to simply
together without being married.
"We would have migratory marriages once again," said Del. Harry
R-Virginia Beach, referring to people going to other states.
In 1999, McDonnell introduced legislation that would recognize
covenant marriages in which couples agreed to get premarital
recited and signed a commitment pledge. That legislation also
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