SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) -A bill being considered by Utah lawmakers that would change how fast couples can get married and what price they will pay for a license.
Everyone who gets married in Utah needs a marriage license. Current state law encourages counseling before couples say “I do” but under House Bill 132, they would actually get a discount on their marriage license. The sponsor of the bill, Representative Dixon Pitcher (R) says the extra education will strengthen the relationship. "It keeps marriages together. It gives kids the tools to understand how to deal with marriage."
Pitcher says the counseling would not be mandatory, just incentivized, and is already available through churches, colleges, and civic centers. To qualify for the discount, however, under the proposed law it would have include the following: honesty, debt, commitment, and fidelity, in law relations, finances, abuse, and how to deal with conflict. The idea is receiving mixed reviews. While some like the idea, others like Michael Bobo of West Jordan do not. "I don't think classes would help anyone be able to make a better decision about whether they should get married."
But Bobo does like the does like the other part of the proposed law. It would require a three day waiting period after the marriage license application is made. "Changing marriage licenses, and making people think about what they are doing, I think it kind of ads a lot more to the fact that it's not just something you can go and do in Vegas, that you can do overnight, and that you can do fly by night."
Representative Pitcher says it also gives people a chance to change their minds, much like the lemon law that lets people take back a car within three days of purchase. "How much more important is that with a marriage, that you have three days to talk about it, think about it, and discuss it?”
But some like Umair Munawar of Salt Lake City say there should be more discussion on this bill. "It just seems ridiculous to me that you are basically interfering through people's lives."
Pitcher says the amount of the discount on marriage licenses received for taking marriage education still has to be determined. It’s believed saving marriages will also save tax payers money. The Marriage Commission reports the cost of divorce to Utah tax payers is in the millions. That's based on money for things like child support, food stamps and Medicare.