This is a flat-out lie. The legislation does not just give another "option," nor does it enable "couples" to do anything. It ends the legal requirement that a spouse negotiate with the person he or she married to obtain a no-fault divorce and empowers the government to side with the one who wants the divorce. The spouse who is left will not have another option: He or she will have no option. That's truth.
When politicians mislead the public about what they are doing, you have to wonder what their real motivations are.
I asked Marcia Pappas, head of the National Organization for Women's New York state chapter -- which has fought a valiant battle against this bill for years -- why the legislature would do this, especially at this incredibly troubled time.
"Ninety-five percent of divorces in New York are currently settled by negotiation," she told me. "This bill will increase the number of divorce cases that go to trial. It will increase litigation. Who stands to benefit the most? Divorce lawyers. The New York State Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York are the only major players pushing for this bill."
Great, family law created by the lawyers for the lawyers.
As I write, Gov. Paterson has not yet signed this bill. Governor, I beg you, you've stood for the taxpayers before, now whip out that veto pen on behalf of the families of New York. For that, taxpayers will thank you, too.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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