Kellie Fiedorek

Marriage has been under attack from all corners for decades. Some of these attacks have been subtle—as when divorce laws were loosened and leaving your spouse made easier—while others are more obvious—as when activists push to have marriage redefined.

And now, on the heels of recent Supreme Court decisions that put even more strain on the institution of marriage, National Public Radio is pushing the idea that couples “lease” their marriage before they buy it.

NPR says that divorce rates have decreased “but the fact remains” that marriage is still in trouble. For this reason “just about everybody from lawmakers, to counselors, to politicians, [and] priests have offered their suggestions on how we can fix this problem.”

This idea is nothing new, of course. Lawmakers in Germany were discussing this a few years ago.

The idea is “that couples sign marriage leases before they walk down the aisle.” These so-called “wed-leases” would give couples “the option to renew the lease or walk away from the unions after a certain amount of time has passed.”

Supporters describe the term “wed-lease” as a combination of the words “wedlock” and “lease.” In theory, people commit themselves to a leased union for a period of time—1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc.

When the term for which the union is leased ends, the individuals who contracted for the union can either renew it or walk away.

It’s much like a lease agreement with an option to buy from a furniture rental store. You get a flat green couch because your home is full of earth tones, but if you decide you need a home makeover, it’s no problem. As soon as your lease ends, you can trade the green couch for one that’s a better fit with your new color scheme.

Reality check—the decision to get married is unlike any other decision—it’s not a temporary commitment. Attempts to make it temporary will only lead to further encroachments on “till death do us part.”


Kellie Fiedorek

Kellie Fiedorek is litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that has defended marriage and religious liberty in courts throughout the U.S.