Domestic abuse now grounds for divorce

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 31, 2017

Earlier this week the state Legislature passed a bill to provide victims of domestic abuse an easier path to divorce.

But before it passed, there was resistance from some members of the Legislature, particularly from House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, who killed two earlier versions of the bill without even taking a vote.

Backlash from the public followed, and Gipson eventually relented.

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But Gipson said the reason he changed his mind and worked with an advocacy group against domestic violence to send the bill to the governor’s office was due to the pleas from women, not the negative comments he received.

According to the Clarion Ledger, Governor Phil Bryant intends to sign it, making it law.

Providing a way for married victims of domestic violence to divorce their abuser was the right move for this state. Gipson’s initial argument against the bill was that the state needs to work toward strengthening marriages.

While his comment was most certainly made with the best of intentions, it’s not the state’s place to help couples strengthen their marriage.

We live in the United States of America, a country founded on freedom. One of those freedoms allows two people who care for each other to willingly marry, and divorce if the relationship fails.

Attempts to dissuade couples from divorcing are already not working. Mississippi has the highest divorce rate in the nation and is one of two states to not have a “no fault” option when filing for divorce.

We commend Gipson for listening to those victims of domestic abuse to provide them a way out of abusive marriages.