The New Speaker of the House Is in a Bizarre ‘Covenant Marriage,’ That Makes it Very Difficult to Ever Get Divorced
Here’s the thing about politics: Just when you think a situation can’t get worse, it often (usually) does. The brand-new House Speaker Mike Johnson definitely seems to prove that point.
Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the fourth Republican to be nominated for House speaker since Kevin McCarthy was bounced out of that job, is an extremely right-wing homophobe/evangelical Christian who entered into a “covenant marriage” in 1999. Johnson even pushed for a bill that’s quite similar to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, Insider reports.
Sounds like a real prize, doesn’t he?
While Louisiana also has no-fault divorce laws, it also has a state law in which couples sign a document in which they agree to seek marital counseling before heading to divorce court. This law also mandates that couples can only get divorced on very limited grounds — including adultery, if one partner commits a felony or faces imprisonment, or if physical or sexual abuse is involved.
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The law reads, in part:
“A covenant marriage agreement may not be dissolved, rescinded, or otherwise terminated by the mutual consent of the spouses,” reads the relevant portion of Louisiana state law.
For couples in troubled relationships, covenant marriage sounds like the perfect recipe for hell.
“A covenant marriage agreement may not be dissolved, rescinded, or otherwise terminated by the mutual consent of the spouses,” the relevant portion of this ridiculous state law reads.
Louisiana was the first state to pass a law to create covenant marriages in 1997, and Arizona and Arkansas, states that vote largely conservative followed suit later on. Fortunately for those of us who are capable of rational thought, this is still a rare practice, and only two percent of Louisiana couples have decided to torment themselves with this.
You can tell I’m divorced, can’t you?
But Johnson is a special kind of extreme.
“My wife and I both come from traditional Christian households,” Johnson told ABC in 2005. “My own parents are divorced. As anyone who goes through that knows, that was a traumatic thing for our whole family. I’m a big proponent of marriage and fidelity and all the things that go with it, and I’ve seen firsthand the devastation [divorce] can cause.”
Johnson’s wife, Kelly also talked to ABC, noting the arrangement “shows me that he wants it to be forever.”
“I think that it would be a pretty big red flag if you asked your mate or your fiancé, “Let’s do a covenant marriage,’ and they said they don’t really want to do that,” she added.
In 2001, Johnson told a reporter that he recommended to friends that they do the same thing.
“Because so few people have chosen covenant marriage in Louisiana, it seems like an unpopular idea,” he told the journalist. “It’s not unpopular—it’s just unknown. Once the message is out there, a whole lot more people will choose it.”
Well, considering that only two percent of married couples have gone this route, it seems to me that a “whole lot more” people aren’t choosing this.
And frankly, he’s obviously anti-LGBT+ and I’m worried he’ll help his fellow extremist Republicans take a sledgehammer to same-sex marriage and other important issues that affect this community.
To my way of thinking, if a couple truly loves each other, neither would want to bind their partner in such a suffocating agreement. We change and make decisions all of our lives and something that seemed like a good idea in 1998 may seem more like a nightmare now.
I can really only say this from my own experience. If I hadn’t been divorced, I would never have found Central America. I’d never be the angry political writer that I am, and I prefer to stay angry.