Kansas lawmakers examine the state of marriage

TOPEKA (KSNT) — While other lawmakers spent Wednesday reviewing bills, one house committee held an informational hearing on the state of marriage.

Those committee members are hoping to find out if the state has an interest in protecting marriage.

Until death do us part…that’s the vow a few Kansas lawmakers would like to see more married couples committed to.

“I think marriage is the structural fabric that holds our culture together,” said Rep. Steven Brunk, (R) of Wichita.

So he’s concerned about the state’s growing divorce statistics.

Experts say those divorces negatively impact society in a variety of ways — and those impacts could potentially be avoided.

“There was a study done by Professor William Doherty at the University of Minnesota that found that 11.7 percent of all couples getting divorced, neither one of the couple believed that the marriage can’t be saved,” said Dr. Teresa Collett, Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas.

Because of that some lawmakers worry that many couples go to court and cut their ties too soon. They wonder what more can be done.

“Is there something that we can do to help them before they get into that situation? Is there something that we can do to provide or ask them to have some counseling to solve what their problem is?” asks Rep. Brunk.

But others think that goes too far.

“I’m so confused because you have individuals who say there’s too much government in our lives, and then you come back with, ‘well we’re going to now dictate under what circumstances I can get a divorce?’ I’m not understanding this,” said Rep. Valdenia Winn, (D) of Kansas City.

There’s no specific policy lawmakers are pursing right now, but the committee chair says once they have a clear picture of the problem, they’ll decide where to go next.

Day two of the hearings will continue tomorrow and local experts could offer certain solutions to curb the divorce rate in the sunflower state.

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