The Creepy Concept of Covenant Marriage

Recently, I came across a disturbing little factoid. In 1997, the state of Louisiana passed Covenant Marriage into law. Arkansas and Arizona later jumped on the bandwagon. Thank goodness no other states have taken the bait.

These policies, if you opt into them, make marriage more difficult to get into, and a lot more difficult to get out of. For starters, according to Wikipedia, you have to attend premarital counseling sessions, which “emphasize the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage”, and you must sign a statement saying that the marriage is for life.

While I think premarital counseling is a great idea, I wonder who exactly is conducting these sessions. And I really would have a problem with having someone other than me and my spouse dictate what the nature, purpose and responsibilities of our marriage are to be. Marriage is what you make it. No two are alike.

And as for signing one’s life away, if you aren’t confident that the other person is going to try for a lifelong commitment unless they put it in writing, then you might want to reexamine how much you trust this person in the first place. Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. If you don’t have that, you’re building a castle on sand.

This is starting to sound like the equivalent of a homeowners’ association for relationships. I chafe at rules and regulations. I’ll pass.

Even worse are the restrictions placed on getting out of the marriage. In a covenant marriage, you are waiving your rights to a no-fault divorce. Before you can even consider divorce, you have to first go to counseling. You must also be able to prove that your spouse has committed adultery, a felony, is a drug addict or a sexual predator, or that you’ve been living apart for at least a year (perhaps two, depending on the state.)

First of all, why bother with counseling if your spouse is involved in such heinous acts? Those things, as far as I’m concerned, are deal breakers.

And you notice there’s no provision for your husband punching you in the face and not being prosecuted for it, nor is there an option if your wife suddenly joins a cult. Your only recourse in those situations would be a long painful separation, and there’s no guarantee that the nut job in question would agree to being apart.

Life is messy. It can go south in many ways that are outside the bounds of these few legislative dicta. No one should have the right to define what you deem to be unsupportable.

Is it just me, or is it creepy and strange that these three super red states, full to the brim with conservatives who claim to want less government, not more, are all for these highly regulated covenant marriages? But then, this legislates religion and “family values”, and restricts the freedom of women even further, so yeah, I guess it makes sense.

Fortunately, these three states have not made covenant marriage mandatory, and less than 1 percent of the couples getting married each year in these places opt in to this foolishness. But still, it seems like a disturbing, backward trend, and it gives me the willies.

I love holding my husband’s hand, but I wouldn’t want to be handcuffed to it.

Business people handcuffed together

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Relentless Compassion

It’s for your own good. Tough love. This is a last resort. Mother knows best.

It sounds good, in theory. Like someone has your best interests at heart, and is establishing firm boundaries. It’s about time, some would say. Strong leadership! Yeah!

But even the slightest scratch to the surface of this theory reveals its many flaws.

First of all, who made you the Decider? How do you know if your way is the best way? What if I disagree?

Second, how is it that you’re the one person on the planet who wouldn’t allow this power to go to your head? Forcing people to do things, or live a certain way, or preventing certain behaviors, is the tip of a very large and corrupt iceberg.

And most importantly, what if you have a hidden agenda? What if you really don’t have my best interests at heart? What if you’re manipulating me to get what you want, and to hell with everyone else?

Relentless compassion is not a good look. Not for parents, or employers, or politicians. Especially politicians who are callous, narcissistic, racist, misogynistic, semi-literate, and completely out of touch with reality. For example, the idiot in the meme below.

I don’t want these types of people controlling, legislating, judging or defunding my life. I will resist them every chance I get. Just sayin’.

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Congressional Boot Camp

In theory, members of congress represent the will of their constituents, but in practice that hasn’t been the case for quite some time, with few exceptions. They know it. We know it. Their decisions are based entirely upon their personal ideologies, and that of their financial backers. To hell with the people. We, the people, mean absolutely nothing to them.

It always astounds me that politicians are elected and paid to pass legislation on issues that they know absolutely nothing about. How is it possible for someone to sit in judgment on topics that are completely outside of their realm of experience?

Here’s a thought. If we dismantle the fundraising mechanism for congress, if we cap the amount of money one can spend to run for office, level the playing field, as it were, prohibit contributions by corporations, and make all funds go through a general pool so that no politician can determine the source of the proceeds and therefore is beholden to no one, then the public will be running the country once again.

This would also free up a lot of time. Congressmen spend the bulk of their time in fundraising activities. If this were no longer an issue, there would be greater opportunities to do the things that they should have been doing all along: familiarizing themselves with the issues they are weighing in on.

For example, how can people vote about whether or not to go to war when the vast majority of them have never set foot in a war zone? Before they can vote on such an important issue, they should either have to live in a war zone for two months, or send their children to fight on the front line.

Don’t think waterboarding is torture? Before you can say that, you should have to experience it yourself, and also subject someone else to it.

Against abortion? I’ll take you seriously once you’ve adopted a crack baby with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Making policies that impact the homeless? Sleep on the street for a month. Preferably in winter.

Weighing in on immigration? Let’s take everything away from you, surround you with people who want you dead, and kick you out of your homeland. Then we’ll talk.

All this could be avoided if everyone in congress possessed one quality: empathy. The ability to imagine what life is like for others, particularly the less fortunate. The concept that just because something isn’t a problem for you, that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. Until you have some moral authority, as far as I’m concerned, you have no authority at all.

End of rant.

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News Flash: I Don’t Care Where You Pee

When I lived in Florida, I used to dream about moving to the mountains of North Carolina. To me, that was paradise. I had convinced myself that I would find my ultimate happiness there. I used to vacation there every chance I got.

The reason I was so anxious to get out of Florida, believe it or not, had nothing to do with the oppressive heat or the gigantic cockroaches (although I don’t recommend them). It had everything to do with the conservative culture and the, frankly, bat shit crazy politics. Florida seems to have more stupidity per capita of politicians than any other state with the possible exception of Kansas or Texas. North Carolina, I thought, would be a refreshing change. Until now.

Thank God that relocation never came to fruition. When I hear what’s currently going on in North Carolina, I have to cringe. No matter what your opinion is about transgender Americans, you have to see how stupid this bathroom legislation is. Oh, where to begin.

First of all, is that state battling against some secret underground organization that has been suppressing the news and statistics about public bathroom violence? Because, to be honest, I feel more uncomfortable in the average parking garage than I do in most bathrooms. (Thanks, Hollywood.) And how would they keep this conspiracy quiet? I mean, nowadays if a snake comes up out of a toilet, it’s all over Facebook before nightfall.

My whole life, I’ve never had a dangerous bathroom encounter, unless you count bullies in junior high school. I’m sure violence does occur occasionally, but that can be said of any public place. If a bathroom seems sketchy to me, I avoid it. Simple. For example, I wouldn’t go to a New York City Subway bathroom at 1 a.m. That’s just common freakin’ sense.

Second, has NC also discovered some statistic that shows transgender people to be more violent than the rest of the population? If so, I’d like to see it. Even a basic Google search of “Transgender” and “Rape” seems to only come up with hits in which the Transgender person is the victim, not the perpetrator. They’re not vampires, people. They weren’t put on this earth to attack you.

If the State of North Carolina genuinely believes that its bathrooms are dangerous places, then they need to employ more security guards and beef up their police force. (And not so they can stand outside of every public crapper asking people to produce their birth certificates.)

If they truly want to make the world safe, and they are under the stupid belief that this particular group of people are their most likely criminals, shouldn’t they be introducing legislation to keep transgender people out of back alleys, away from bridge underpasses and other high crime areas? Of course they’d think that. If they really believed any of these things. But keeping people safe isn’t their concern at all.

Their agenda, plain and simple, is to open the door to discrimination against a group of Americans whose lives they don’t approve of. (They’re basically throwing a tantrum because everyone can get married now.) First it will be bathrooms. Then schools, jobs, and rentals. Pretty soon they won’t be allowed to own bicycles and will have to wear a pink and blue star on their sleeves… This is the kind of thing that happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

You’re probably thinking that’s a little extreme. Don’t think they’re that dedicated to their cause in this day and age? Think again. They’re willing to do without billions (with a b) of dollars in federal funding to prove their insane point. That’s pretty freakin’ scary if you ask me.

Here’s an idea. When you go into a public bathroom, go into your stall, close your door, lock it, do your business, wash your hands (please!) and leave. Stop trying to be the pee pee police. If you’re in there all focused on the authenticity of everyone else’s genitalia, then you are a pervert.

Shame on you, North Carolina.

Toilet

 

 

 

 

Justice Moves Swiftly… for Once.

I was horrified recently to hear on The Daily Show that a man, arrested for upskirting, got off on a technicality in a higher court, essentially making upskirting legal in the state of Massachusetts. (For the uninitiated, upskirting is secretly taking photographs up women’s skirts with one’s cell phone. Minutes later, these photos can be all over the internet.)

The man had been arrested under the Peeping Tom law and was convicted by a lower court, but then it was overturned in a higher court because that law is meant to be related to victims in complete or partial states of undress, and these poor unsuspecting women on the trolley were, technically, fully clothed. So the guy walked free.

That there should even be a question, morally or legally, that some scumbag has the right to violate a woman’s privacy in such a disgusting fashion leaves me speechless. Not to mention that this type of blatant disrespect tells you all you need to know about someone’s warped moral compass. But the law is the law.

But, in a rare instance of swift legislation, three days later the state of Massachusetts closed that creepy little loophole. Now, upskirting is a crime punishable by up to 2 ½ years in jail or a fine of up to $5,000.00. Sometimes politicians can actually get something right. Yay team!

upskirter

Michael S. Robertson, upskirter

Legally innocent.

Morally repugnant.

But on the bright side, given how computer savvy his generation is, he’ll probably never have close contact with the object of his photographs ever again. Power to the people!

Related Articles:

High court rules ‘upskirt’ photos legal in Massachusetts

‘Upskirt’ ban in Massachusetts signed into law

The Shortest News Cycle in the History of the World

On April 24th of this year a factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing more than 1,000 people who were just desperately trying to make a living of about $1.50 a day. They worked obscenely long hours for this money in an overcrowded building with no air conditioning, outdated and dangerous equipment and unhealthy drinking water. All the exits in this building were on the same side and there were very few windows. Not that anyone could have gotten out anyway. It was all over in less than 10 seconds, and the deaths of these people were every bit as horrendous as their lives had been.

The question is, why are we not still talking about this? Why are we not outraged, disgusted, horrified? If this had happened in America it would be a scandal of epic proportions. We’d be talking about it for decades. There would be legislation, there would be investigations, there would be a massive outpouring of support for the victims’ families.

Is the desire for low cost T-shirts really that much greater than the sanctity of human life? Is it that we feel that all non-American lives are insignificant? People in Bangladesh died? Sorry to hear that. Next!

American companies that buy from these factories do insist on a certain level of health and safety standards, but in order to make a profit these standards are overlooked. And we know it. Let’s not upset the apple cart. Wink, wink.

I’m not suggesting that we boycott Bangladeshi products. Good God, if we do, they’d starve to death. The workers don’t deserve that. But these health and safety standards have to be enforced. And it is estimated that if we would be willing to pay just 10 cents more per garment, these factories could be retrofitted and the health and safety of these workers could be achieved. Are you willing to pay 10 cents more for that? I am.

Meanwhile, even as you read this, the factories of Dhaka continue to grind out their products, grinding their workers down at the same time, ensuring that their lives are nasty, brutish and short.

And we’re not talking about it. Shame on us.

Bangladesh