The Utah Senate is about to approve a bill that would discriminate against nonreligious couples that want to get married.
Please take action now and tell your state senator to reject State Bill 29, which would enact government-selected marriage values rooted in religious teachings. The bill would increase the cost of marriage licenses by $20, but give a rebate to any couple that attends a marriage preparation class or counseling. The content requirements by the state for this premarital education include teachings on commitment and child care. However, religious organizations that preach on spiritual principles related to marriage would be excused from meeting the state's requirements.
The wording in the automated comment section is editable. Please feel free to add your own thoughts to personalize the message text, subject heading or signature.
(Keep reading if you wish to learn more about the bill.)
State Bill 29 would increase the cost of marriage license by $20, but any couple that receives premarital education or counseling would have the ability to receive this money back. Under the bill, if a couple chose to go with the rebate option, it would be given a choice between six hours of premarital "education" or only three hours of premarital "counseling". Certain secular providers would have to offer the six-hour option; any ordained minister or other person authorized to solemnize marriages would be permitted to offer either the three- or six-hour options.
Moreover, there are content requirements for the premarital education or counseling, including "commitment to marriage" and "the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment for children," among others. But religious organizations that teach about "religious principles related to marriage" are exempt from the content requirements. They can spend the three hours discussing anything that the organization deems to qualify as religious principles related to marriage.
SB 29 is a clear example of the state trying to legislate morality by imposing government-selected values on those who wish to get married in Utah. All couples are subjected to teachings on what counts as a committed marriage, and couples who are infertile or have chosen not to have children may be required to learn what constitutes a "nurturing environment for children" in the eyes of the state.
Worse yet, the legislation creates a distinct advantage for religious couples, who will have a far easier time meeting the rebate requirements than nonreligious citizens. This advantage violates the Constitution, which prohibits the state from favoring religion over nonreligion.
Take action now and tell your state senator to reject this bill!