Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

A Real “Church-State Seperation” Issue

Posted by Adam Graham on March 24, 2007

From the Washington Post, a well-reasoned decision from 22 Maryland Senators to kill a bill that crosses the line into the business of religion:

After an emotional debate about marriage, women’s rights and the separation of church and state, the Senate voted against a measure seeking to remove religious barriers that prevent spouses from remarrying after obtaining a civil divorce.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lisa A. Gladden (D-Baltimore), argued that the measure was not about religion but “about fairness. It’s a women’s rights issue.”

Gladden sponsored the bill for Orthodox Jewish women in her district who said they were unable to obtain a divorce because their husbands would not grant them one.

Under Jewish law, a civil divorce does not end a marriage. A woman must receive what is known as a “get” from her husband, and sometimes the husband will withhold the get, which makes it impossible for her to remarry as an Orthodox Jew.

The bill would have required couples who are getting divorced to file an affidavit saying they have agreed to drop religious barriers to remarriage.

While I understand the Senator’s concern, it’s not the proper subject of a law. From a civil standpoint the woman can get remarried. The issue with her faith is one for the Orthodox Jews to resolve, not State Senators. That the bill got 22 votes shows how ignorant some Senators are of their constitutional duties.

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