Women's group bashes divorce bill

Posted April 9, 2013

— A national domestic violence expert says a proposal to require a two-year waiting period for a divorce in North Carolina would put women in even more danger of abuse.

Kim Gandy leads the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She spoke at a news conference for the left-leaning group NC Women United, which held its biannual advocacy day Tuesday. 

Gandy singled out Senate Bill 518, the "Healthy Marriages Act," filed by Sen. Austin Allran, R-Catawba. 

The bill would require a two-year waiting period for a divorce, with required counseling on conflict resolution and communication skills. Additional counseling would be required if there are children involved in the relationship.

The proposal makes no exception for cases of domestic violence or abuse. 

"We already know that the most dangerous time for a battered woman is after she takes steps to leave the relationship. That's when she's most likely to be injured or killed," Gandy said. 

"To say we're going to expand that time, we're going to force you to remain in a legal relationship before you can get a divorce for two years, without any exception, even for cases of violence, it shocks the conscience," she said. "It shocks my conscience, and I trust it shocks your conscience and that you will let your legislators know how you feel."

Money generic, dollars Wake lawmaker says women deserve pay equal to men

About 100 women turned out for the group's advocacy day. Their agenda also opposes voting restrictions, supports reproductive rights and weighs in on a variety of economic issues that disproportionately affect women, like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

NC Women United President Jina Dhillon described the group as "angry and determined." 

"Already, the developments of the 2013 legislative session indicate that many lawmakers have no problem reversing decades of progress," Dhillon said at the news conference. 

Rep, Deborah Ross, D-Wake, touted her House Bill 603, which was filed Tuesday. The "Equal Pay Act" would prohibit employers from paying female employees less than male employees for the same work. 

Ross said the legislation is modeled on Arizona's equal pay act – "not your world's most liberal state," she joked – and added that Tennessee and Virginia have even more protections in their laws than Arizona. 

More than 40 states have equal pay provisions in their statutes, she said.


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  • BaseBallMommy Apr 9, 2013

    I am not an advocate for divorce but maybe if we made it a little harder to get married than possibly divorces would go do. I think too many people rush into a marriage not fully understanding what all it takes to make it work and I also feel that some people give up on marriage too easily. If this bill is passed it needs to have something added regarding domestic violence!!

  • Gunslinger Apr 9, 2013

    Typical big government from the repubs.... They are all about the nanny state... reduction of freedom... and anti-constitutionalism.

  • floydthebarber Apr 9, 2013

    So very much like a republican to call their legislation the "Healthy Marriages Act" when all it serves to do is put women at literal risk of domestic violence, and anger thousands of couples already stressed out over divorce.

    I thought republicans stood for personal freedom and choice? This is oppression plain and simple. NC will be mocked for this as much as the official state religion mess!!!

  • Just Once Apr 9, 2013

    DAR_Patriot - That isn't going to stop anything. People don't think about divorce when they Marry. Who plans to fail? All it does is put both parties(not just the women) in a spot that is going to force them to do things they might not do if it was only one year. I can't believe it is a year!

  • DAR-Patriot Apr 9, 2013

    How about people taking marriage seriously. Don't get married unless you love the person and committed to the relationship. Grow up and realize over the years people are going to grow and change. Don't expect your spouse to be the same after 10 years. Also, don't expect every thing to be "sweetness and light" all the time. Relationships grow and change. I have always loved my husband but there have been times I did not like him very much or at all. He probably feels the same. Glad I was brought up to believe marriage was a lifetime committment or I might have run looking for a lawyer. After 42 years I will still keep him.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 9, 2013

    "This is a lousy law, and is going to cause more problems that it will ever fix."

    I agree. Divorce should be make easier, not harder.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 9, 2013

    "A national domestic violence expert says a proposal to require a two-year waiting period for a divorce in North Carolina would put women in even more danger of abuse."

    Typical, nevermind that MEN are abused by current law and will be moreso abused by this law. Actually, the law should be changed. A divorce should require a simple declaration document of marriage disoulation, signed and filed by the two people with a county clerk. No property settlements, no alimony, and no child support. Traditionally, that has been the typical legal enslavement on the male. Time to give WOMEN marriage divorce equality. The entire process should take less than a day. Aside from that, DO NOT GET MARRIED. Do not put yourself at the mercy of the legal system and divorce attorneys. If you want to share a place with a partner, then just go ahead and do it.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 9, 2013

    "Why would any normal person vote for these people again is beyond me?"

    I don't agree with this particular bill, but if you think Democrats care about anyone, you are seriously deluded. As to control? Who is it that is pushing for gun control and you might review all the attempts by the Obama administration to steal your freedom and liberty that was shut down by the supreme court. It was much much worse than what Bush did with the Patriot act, which by the Way, OBAMA loves. I guess you forgot which party now forces people to buy health insurance at the point of a gun and forces others at the point of a gun to pay for insurance for other people. PAY ATTENTION to what they do, not what they say. Oh and Washington DC used to provide vouchers for poor people to attend private schools like Obamas kids attend. Obama and the DEMS stopped it. It was put in place by the heartless republicans.

  • driverkid3 Apr 9, 2013

    If I had been forced to live with any of my 3 husbands for 2 years, I would be in prison right now, instead of being at home and doing this.

    This is a lousy law, and is going to cause more problems that it will ever fix.

  • free2bme Apr 9, 2013

    The NC GOP legislature is about control. They want to control everything NC citizens are allowed to do. They are taking this state back to the dark ages. They have no heart and no care other than their own interest. Why would any normal person vote for these people again is beyond me?