Covenant Marriage Bill in Oklahoma

3-3-05 - Oklahomans could soon have another option for marriage – a covenant marriage, which makes divorce a much tougher option. Lawmakers have already pushed the bill through the House, hoping it would lower the nation’s 2nd highest divorce rate.

The covenant marriage would be optional – but if a couple chooses it, they would have to take additional premarital counseling. After marriage, they would have to undergo an 18-month separation before a divorce is granted. "Till death do us part" would take on a new meaning as well - adultery, physical abuse, or abandonment would be the only exceptions for getting divorced.

While local ministers support the idea, critics of covenant marriage say it could lead to false allegations of abuse in order to avoid working through problems. Others say it will keep more people in unhappy marriages.

Covenant marriage laws have been passed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Arizona. 20 other states are considering the same legislation.