Marriage bill gains traction in Oklahoma

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: February 23, 2010
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A measure that would outlaw common-law marriage in the state and require everyone who applied to get married to receive two hours of marital counseling passed a House committee Monday night.

Two other measures requiring counseling for couples with children before a divorce could be granted failed, one in a House committee and the other on the House floor.

Existing law allows couples who receive premarital counseling to get a marriage license for $5 instead of $50. House Bill 2634 would make premarital counseling mandatory. The measure now goes to the full House.

HB 2634 would require parents with children to attend educational classes on the effect of separate parenting on children.

The measure also establishes a covenant marriage as one that is entered into by a man and woman who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong relationship. It also bans common-law marriage, in which people live together and are considered married.

The Judiciary Committee failed to pass HB 2279, which would have required counseling for couples with children. It failed to pass on a 7-3 vote.

The measure by Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, would have required couples with minor children to live apart for one year if both agreed to a divorce before a divorce could be granted. Politics coverage