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‘Til [Insert Year] Do Us Part: Mexico City Mulling Temporary Marriage Licenses

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By HVnews on September 30, 2011

The Mexico City assembly legalized same-sex marriage in 2010. With marriage equality now on the books, some lawmakers are pushing for something else entirely: marriage reality.

Nobody ever thinks their marriage will end in divorce. It’s the other couples. It’s always the other couples. But for whatever reason — money, infidelity, abuse, communication breakdown — 50 percent of all first marriages end with both partners going through the hassle of a split. That statistic is as valid in Mexico City as it is in these United States.

To alleviate the all-too-familiar reality of costly divorce in the modern era, some leftist Mexico City lawmakers have devised an ingenious idea: temporary, renewable marriage licenses.

“The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,” Leonel Luna, the Mexico City assemblyman who co-authored the bill, told Reuters. “You wouldn’t have to go through the tortuous process of divorce.”

Luna says the minimum contract would be for two years, and it can be renewed if all remains well in the marriage. Each contract would have built-in provisions concerning the division of property and/or children should the couple decide to dissolve their wedded non-bliss.

In the United States, the average cost of a contested divorce can range from $15,000 to $30,000. It’s unclear how much divorce costs in Mexico City.

The Party of the Democratic Revolution, the leftist party, currently holds 34 seats in the 66-member Legislative Assembly. Luna says he expects a vote by the end of the year.

Certainly the idea of a temporary marriage license will cause consternation among those who idolize the sanctity of marriage. The Catholic Church, for instance, blasted the proposal, calling it “immoral” and “irresponsible.” (They must have intentionally not used “impractical,” perhaps because it’s anything but.) “Pro-family” groups and social conservatives in America would surely dial the Outrage Meter up to 11 if this came up in any state’s legislature.

Ultimately, this isn’t just about temporary marriage licenses. This is about a practical government solution to a common societal problem. This is about lawmakers being proactive realists instead of theoretical idealists for a change. Too many kids getting pregnant? Let’s fund more abstinence-only education! Students getting bad grades? Let’s test ’em more! Too dependent on foreign oil? Let’s drill right here!

Renewable licenses may or may not be the answer. That’s for policymakers to examine, then decide. But the fact that some in the assembly have identified a problem and are pitching a practical solution without the constraint of religious or social group-think is a good start.

Now, if the government would just get out of the “marriage” business altogether…

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