Proposed ballot measure would eliminate divorce

Secretary of State Debra Bowen just announced that John Marcotte of Sacramento, the proponent of a new initiative, may begin collecting petition signatures for his measure:

ELIMINATES THE LAW ALLOWING MARRIED COUPLES TO DIVORCE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the ability of married couples to get divorced in California. Preserves the ability of married couples to seek an annulment. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Savings to the state of up to hundreds of millions of dollars annually for support of the court system due to the elimination of divorce proceedings. (09-0026.)

As a colleague who shall remain nameless just noted, the state might realize hundreds of millions in savings but “conversely, the homicide rate would soar.”

Marcotte must collect signatures of at least 694,354 registered voters by March 22 in order to qualify his measure for the ballot.

UPDATE @ 9:20 P.M.: Steve Weir’s comment (#2) is dead on; see the proponent’s Web site.

UPDATE @ 10:10 P.M.: And, this just in from Mr. Marcotte himself, in response to my query:

“Boy. It really hurts my feelings when people doubt my sincerity like that.

“I just think that sometimes other people have to sacrifice in order to protect my ideas about traditional marriage.

“I like to think I am just extending the good work of Prop 8 and taking it to its logical conclusions. Prop 8 wasn’t about taking away rights from gay people, it was about ‘protecting traditional marriage.’ That’s why I know that we’ll get all those Prop 8 supporters to back my initiative, even though this time it will be their rights that get diminished.

“To not support me would be hypocritical.”

And there you have it.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Truthclubber

    This is proof positive that the initiative process as we know it in California is so dysfunctionally broken that it cannot be repaired. $200 bucks to reek havoc on the ability of couples to even peacefully divorce if for whatever reason they got married for the wrong reasons? I am going to find someone who will shell out 200 clams for the filing fee so that I can write an initiative to “eliminate the initiative process in California” — look at the budgetary savings THAT will yield!

  • steve weir

    I suspect that this is a spoof. It still takes over 600,000 valid signatures to qualify a Constitutional Amendment for the ballot. After all, it only takes $200 to get the Summary and Title. But, the proponent must circulate the petition and secure the minimum required to place it on the ballot.

    I’ll bet that this is in response to Proposition 8 on the November, 2008 ballot.

  • Chris

    Great post.

  • Nick

    Oh noooo. Straight people might have to consider what it feels like for a fleeting moment what it would be like if someone took away their legal rights because of someone else’s fanatical religious beliefs. No, must…look away… from mirror. Must… go back…. to denial. Must go back to scapegoating other people for whats wrong with society. It couldn’t be US “normal” people that are responsible for the breakdown of the American family. Oh no… Its the gays.

  • WL

    Not a big deal; golddigger wives would simply go to Nevada to get a divorce if California voters banned divorce here. A better proposal would be to require that the innocent spouse be reimbursed by the spouse at fault for the divorce – i.e. guilty of adultery, physical abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse. Currently, the innocent are punished with alimony and loss of property when they have done nothing wrong and the breaching party gets a windfall. No fault divorce should be stopped, and the new initiative is a small step in that direction.

  • John W.

    How do we get a “divorce” from all the dumb and destructive initiatives that are currently on the books — too easy to pass and virtually impossible to reverse, even though many would not pass if proposed today?

  • I agree with Truthclubber, John W., and WL

    It’s probably backed by Nevada Divorce Attys

  • BJD

    Nothing destroys the sanctity of marriage like divorce.

  • Gayle DeForest

    To “Truthclubber”: I love your idea of an initiative to eliminate the initiative process in California!

    BTW, it’s “wreak havoc,” not “reek havoc.”