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Two Texas lawmakers have proposed bills that they say will protect traditional marriage if passed.
The first bill, proposed by Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, aims to lower the divorce rate by making covenant marriage available to Texans, as it already is to residents of three other states – Arkansas, Louisiana, and Arizona.
The second bill, filed by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, aims to force those who seek a marriage license to swear – in writing – that they are not marrying to bypass immigration laws.
Make Covenant Marriage Available
Zedler’s bill aims to make covenant marriage, which is more difficult to dissolve than normal marriage, an option for Texans.
Before being married, couples that seek a covenant marriage must receive premarital counseling. Couples that receive a covenant marriage must also seek marital counseling before they can file for divorce.
Covenant marriages in Texas could only be dissolved on serious grounds, such as abuse, adultery, or a spouse’s conviction of a felony. In traditional marriages, divorces can be had without either party being “at fault.”
Covenant marriages would also allow the termination of a marriage if the couple had been separated for three years.
Curbing Marriage Fraud
The second bill, filed by Nelson would aim to reduce fraudulent marriages – marriages carried out to circumvent immigration laws – by forcing couples composed of foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens to swear in writing that they are not marrying for that reason, and no one is getting paid for the marriage for that reason.
If the bill passes, those who sign the statement and break the law ccan be charged with aggravated perjury – a third-degree felony – and can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
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