In a new bill proposed by Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough, Florida could be adding a new requirement before couples would be entitled to receiving their marriage license. The Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage bill would obligate couples to read a guide made to instruct couples on topics surrounding healthy relationships. These topics would include conflict management, financial discussions, open communication, parenting tips, and domestic violence. The guide would be written by a committee of six marriage and family experts, who would be appointed by the Republican Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House.
Supporters claim that the The Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage bill is in response to rising divorce rates and an apparent culture of sexual harassment and affairs amongst politicians. It is unclear whether the bill would actually help lower divorce rates, however. According to one Jacksonville divorce attorney, the guide will have only a temporary effect on relationships, as the most serious challenges facing couples generally arise later in a marriage.
The bill will be funded through private sources, not through taxpayer money. The funding has no exclusions, and could include private sources such as churches. The money raised for funding would cover the design and distribution of the marriage guides.
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