End No-Fault Divorce

Ending no-fault divorce would be a very, very big winner for Republicans if they are smart enough to fully embrace the issue:

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, Republicans are already looking ahead to their next moral crusades, and it sure looks like they’ve found one in… divorce. A new report from Media Matters for America shows a rising trend of right-wing influencers and Republican leaders and politicians, including U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, advocating for the end of no-fault divorce—a policy that allows people to end a marriage without being required to prove wrongdoing by their partner, including adultery, abuse, or desertion.

No-fault divorce, which was first enacted in California in 1969, has always been a feminist issue. It’s allowed domestic abuse victims to leave a bad marriage without onerous barriers, and it certainly empowers women and all people to escape legally binding situations with someone they don’t love. One would think no-fault divorce is a no-brainer—a completely non-controversial issue decided half a century ago.

But Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe very clearly opened the door for further rights, particularly around marriage, to be reversed. “We have a duty to correct the error established in those precedents,” he wrote, while specifically calling the Griswold v. Connecticut (1965, birth control), Lawrence v. Texas (2003, same-sex intimacy), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015, same-sex marriage) decisions “demonstrably erroneous.” And already, the Texas Republican Party—the same people currently suing the Biden administration for the right to let pregnant people die—includes a proposal “to rescind unilateral no-fault divorce laws and support covenant marriage and to pass legislation extending the period of time in which a divorce may occur to six months after the date of filing for divorce” in its 2022 party platform.

Ironically, marriage is one of the only contracts into which one can enter without being held liable to the terms of the agreement. Using an Internet site is literally more contractually binding, which only underlies the absolute absurdity of the legality of divorces that allow one party to unilaterally break the contract for no reason and without any penalties.

The fact that the feminist media is already worried about this possible development demonstrates how effective a wedge issue it would be for Republicans.