More Of That ‘Small Government’ in North Carolina

Republican legislators in North Carolina continue their quest for “smaller government” by proposing a law that would require married couples to wait a full two years before getting a divorce — and if they have sex at any time during that period, it restarts the clock.

The Healthy Marriage Act would extend to two years the current one-year waiting period in order for a divorce to be finalized. During that time, the couple would have to complete courses on improving their communications skills and conflict resolution…

Veteran Sen. Austin Allran of Hickory is the primary sponsor. Second term Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton has signed on to Senate Bill 518…

It would also strike from the current law a provision that says “isolated incidents of sexual intercourse” don’t count against the one-year waiting period. It’s not clear if that means an occasional fling with your estranged partner does count against you under the proposed law.

Because nothing says “small government” like demanding to know whether you’ve had sex with your spouse in order to determine when you can get a divorce.

Renaming Mt. McKinley Produces Enough Stupid to Bury the Mountain
That Time Kim Davis Issued a Marriage License to a Transgender Man
Staver and Barber: Ben Carson Just Like Nazi Doctors
God is Punishing Us for Rebuilding the World Trade Center?
About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • fastlane

    Funny that, and yet, when you ask them about any sort of legal controls on firearms, they think the government ‘has no right’…..

    Dumbass hicks.

  • jnorris

    There’s no long waiting period or classes involved with getting married.

    Will Republican Tea Party politicians and Evangelical Christians be exempt?

    I do think the divorce industry in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee will pick up when this law is passed.

  • raven

    The divorce rate for fundie xians, like the Theothuglicans of North Carolina, is higher than the general population.

    Oh well, when they aren’t hating everyone else, they hate themselves.

  • scienceavenger

    Does sex with someone other than the future divorcee start the clock again?

  • doublereed

    I think they need to be more specific about the sexual contact that is permissible or not permissible. They definitely need more details.

  • Randomfactor

    He’s apparently also the guy who came up with the idea of deleting the Solitaire game from state-owned computers to improve productivity. Bet that worked out about as well as this will.

  • kantalope

    The monitoring ‘bracelets’ really chafe.

  • raven

    I think they need to be more specific about the sexual contact that is permissible or not permissible. They definitely need more details.

    And how will it be documented or proven?

    Will cell phone photos be enough.

    Or do you have to videotape it?

    Will outside witness testimony be needed? How many witnesses?

  • Randomfactor

    Does sex with someone other than the future divorcee start the clock again?

    It’s a misdemeanor.

    Also illegal in NC: consensual oral sex.

  • scienceavenger

    That should read:

    Does sex with someone other than the future divorcee stop the clock again?

    got lost in the ilogic.

  • Alverant

    Does NC acknowledge the existance of spousal rape? If not would it reset the clock?

  • busterggi

    Will mutual masterbation count?

  • irisvanderpluym

    Yeah, what a “blessing” to people who just want the hell that is their domestic lives to end, now. Why, it’s almost as if these legislators believe suffering in this life doesn’t matter much, because divine justice gets served in an afterlife. Or whatever. One additional year tied to my abusive ex: awesome!* :D

    * Not actually awesome.

  • fifthdentist

    “I think they need to be more specific about the sexual contact that is permissible or not permissible.”

    Would performing “unnatural sex” acts mean they would have to wait five years?

  • steve84

    Straight people are really fooling themselves when they think that Christians only want to regulate gay people’s lives.

  • zippythepinhead

    The sex police never sleep.

  • Larry

    Do BJs count as sex or are they unnatural sex that should be prosecuted or is that Virginia republicans that are all for that?

    If someone used the barrel of gun as part of foreplay, would that be unnatural or would it be covered under the 2nd amendment? Would it violate the 2 year ban on sex or does the 2nd amendment trump everything else?

    Do separated women have to report periodically for exams to prove they’ve not been having sex or is it enough to wear a chastity belt with the stamp of approval on it from the NC legislature?

    So many questions, so much derp

  • baal

    Don’t they have legit governmental issues to worry about? Are all their roads above par and do they have solutions in place for handling trash generation or a plan to reallocate State resources to handle population shifts?

  • paul

    Any divorce lawyer will tell you that a roll in the hay with your ex for old time’s sake is a really, really bad idea. Among other reasons, the very last thing you want to do is knock someone you’ve already decided you want out of your life. Not that this is any justification for the change in the law, of course.

  • raven

    Don’t they have legit governmental issues to worry about?


    But the real problems all require thoughts and money.

    They like social issues because they are easy and cheap, at least in the short term. It doesn’t cost much to persecute atheists, gays, women, college students, normal people, or women.

    Teenagers having sex. Outlaw it.

    Birth control Outlaw it.

    Divorce Outlaw it.

    Marijuana Outlaw it

    Gays Outlaw it.

    Atheists Outlaw it.

  • raven

    Any divorce lawyer will tell you that a roll in the hay with your ex

    The west coast went no fault divorce decades ago. Long enough that i don’t remember too well when it wasn’t no fault.

    They did this because the old laws were pointless and causing more harm than good.

    North Carolina is just backward and going further backwards. I doubt they would even stop in the Dark Ages if they weren’t part of the USA. They know that, which is why they keep threatening to secede.

  • twincats

    The west coast went no fault divorce decades ago.

    I remember those days before no fault when folks who were able to went to Vegas or Reno for a quickie divorce. If the states surrounding NC also adopt such divorce laws, Nevada will no doubt stand at the ready once again!

  • freemage

    No one’s really identified the worst bit about this:

    Abused spouse (unable to make the claim stick because they aren’t dead and, you know, North Carolina): “Okay, it’s been two years, County Clerk Drone. Let’s seal this thing and I can start putting my life back together.”

    Abusive spouse: “Well, actually, darlin’, not quite yet. Remember, we had sex three months ago.”

    Abused spouse: “What? No we didn’t!”

    Abuser: “Oh, sure we did. You were a little drunk, but don’t worry, I remember everything.”

    CCD: “Ah, well, in that case, I’ll see you folks in… 2 more years.”

  • Draken

    I was immediately thinking what freemage suggests: does “legitimate” rape count as sex? Knowing the Teapublicans, I’m afraid I know the answer.

  • thumper1990

    Why don’t the Rethugs just be honest and demand that every woman wear a Government-approved chastity belt from the moment their period starts. Their father holds the key until they’re married, and their husband thereafter.

    Seriously, I’m beginning to think that’s the only thing that would keep them happy.

  • birgerjohansson


    You forgot evilution.

  • blf

    With this kind of nonsense, why are the fundies “planning” on taking over South Carolina? Seems like North Carolina is in the process of creating their theological “paradise”.

  • cry4turtles

    Just what I was thinking freemage, circular he said-she said. Of course the man’s word is twice as reliable as the womans. She’s just a bag of emotions!!

  • SallyStrange

    And of course, if a husband decided to rape his wife who was seeking a divorce, that would count as “sex” and restart the clock, unless she brought rape charges against him and was successful in prosecuting him, which… yeah. Would never happen.

    Wasn’t South Carolina one of the last states to allow marital rape up until the 90s? The 1990s?