Proposal would require pre-marriage classes for Colo couples - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Proposal would require pre-marriage education classes for Colorado couples

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A California group has proposed a ballot initiative in Colorado that would require couples who want to get married to take mandatory pre-marriage education classes.

The Colorado Marriage Education Act would require potential spouses to complete 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education. Twenty hours would be required for second marriages and 30 hours for third marriages, reported Monday.

A re-marrying widow would be treated as a first-timer under the proposal, which would not apply to civil unions, according to The Denver Post.

David Schel and Sharon Tekolian of California-based Kids Against Divorce told the newspaper the intended purpose of the act is to "better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit."

The group, which is dedicated to supporting children of divorce, will need to gather 86,105 valid signatures by Aug. 4 to put the initiative on the November ballot. The organization plans to propose similar bills across the country, according to The Denver Post.

"Education is the key to success in every aspect of life. This will have a positive impact on marriage," Tekolian said.

Alyx Reese-Giles, who was married for the third time in November, told the newspaper that despite completing six months of marriage counseling through her church, her second marriage lasted less than two months.

"This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard," Reese-Giles said. "The government has no business deciding what education people should or should not get before entering into marriage. Marriage is about communication and being ready to commit, and no class is going to teach you that."

The Denver Post reported that the ballot initiative also includes a tax cut for couples who voluntarily complete continuing marriage education each year to "reduce the billions of dollars taxpayers spend annually on divorce."

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