Feature

Banning divorce in California

Why some people are seriously considering a petition intended to poke fun at gay-marriage opponents

A California Web designer, John Marcotte, is trying to put a constitutional amendment on the state ballot next year to ban divorce. The initiative is meant to mock people who pushed through a ban on gay marriage last year, saying it was necessary to protect traditional marriage. Gay activists and a comedy troupe have volunteered to help Marcotte gather signatures to get the divorce ban on the ballot. Will Californians take Marcotte's joke seriously? (Watch a report about John Marcotte's mission to ban divorce in California)

Marcotte is kidding -- but some supporters are serious: Proposing a divorce ban is a great way to poke fun at people who oppose gay marriage, says Lilly Fowler in True/Slant. And the T-shirts Marcotte's site is selling—saying, "You said 'Til death do us part.' You’re not dead yet"—are a hoot. But some people signing the petition "seriously think banning divorce is a good idea.""A ban on divorce in California? Well, sort of ..."This just opens old wounds: Even California same-sex marriage activists who fought Proposition 8 aren't joining forces with John Marcotte, says Beth Shaw in Right Juris. Sure, they're getting a big laugh out of the Rescue Marriage Petition. But all it will really accomplish is re-open the "wounds and divisions" of last year's vote against gay marriage. Still, Marcotte is getting what he wanted -- attention."California divorce ban movement led by John Marcotte (Video)"

Attention could help the divorce ban pass: John Marcotte's "recent national exposure has given this petition new energy and funding," says Emma Sandoe in D.C. Progressive. That's a big help in accomplishing the huge task of collecting 700,000 valid signatures. Of course, a divorce ban would be "deemed unconstitutional and impractical," but it's worth pointing out that "there is no validity to the argument for 'preserving traditional marriage'" when half of all straight marriages end in divorce."Will there soon be a ban on divorce in California?"

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