URGENT Illinois marriage bill moves to Senate!! - please contact your senator

Smartmarriages © cmfce at his.com
Fri Mar 23 10:17:33 EST 2001

subject: URGENT Illinois marriage bill moves to Senate!!

from: Smart Marriages

Dear Diane, 
We have successfully moved a premarital education bill out of
committee and are now lobbying it on the Senate floor and have only a short
window for pass/fail.  Please ask those on your list to do what they
can to lend support by phone calls or letters to  state senators in the next
few days.  It is URGENT that they act immediately.  Those out of state
can also help by sending letters of support and any evidence of
effectiveness, stats, etc.
Thanks, Gemma Allen

Gemma is an attorney who came to the Denver Smart Marriages conference and
is coordinating this effort.  The bill was defeated last year
but chances look good this year - we should all pitch in.

Fax letters to her at 312-444-1027 or email them to her at
Gemmaballen at aol.com.  Call her at 312-853-3000 and she'll help you
target your efforts.  Don't put this off, the vote will be next week.  -

Wednesday, March 21, 2001    Toby Trimmer: 217/782-0566

  SB 24 passed the committee on Tuesday, March 19th.


SPRINGFIELD, Illinois ­ With more than 40,000 marriages ending in divorce
every year in Illinois, State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) has decided
to do something about it.  On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee
approved Senate Bill 24, Cullerton¹s measure encouraging engaged couples to
seek pre-marital education.

Under Cullerton¹s legislation, marriage licenses would be provided to
couples upon verification that they have participated in at least four hours
of pre-marital education from religious officials or behavioral health
professionals. Though statistics have proven that the education is highly
beneficial in strengthening marriages, the measure allows couples who do not
wish to seek the services to obtain a marriage license after a 60 day
waiting period.  

"In Illinois, 47% of all marriages eventually end in divorce," Cullerton
said.  "The cost to spouses, to their children and their families is
enormous.  But there is extremely credible evidence that shows us that
couples who participate in just a few hours of education before they
exchange their vows tend to stay together at higher rates."

Gemma Allen, a Chicago Divorce Attorney who founded a think tank on Illinois
marriage and divorce initiatives and researched similar legislation in
states throughout the nation, encouraged Cullerton to introduce the bill.
Allen said that pre-marital education works by teaching much-needed
techniques in the skill of resolving conflicts.


"It¹s my experience that many couples simply don¹t know how to communicate
their frustrations, concerns and difficulties with their spouse," Allen
said.  "As a result, this lack of communication boils over time and the
relationship ends.  But we know that there are simple skills that two people
in love can and will learn, provided they have the resources and
encouragement to do so."

Cullerton¹s measure also has the support of the Catholic Conference.  Donna
Dausman, the Director of the Office of Family and Youth Ministry for the
Springfield Diocese said that the legislation keeps the best interests of
families and children in mind.

"Strong families and strong marriages are the cornerstone of our society,"
Dausman said.  "Marriage preparation assists in helping those strong
marriages and is in the best interests of these couples and, most
importantly, the children of these couples.  This legislation advances our
goals to encourage lasting marriages in Illinois."

The Illinois Family Institute, an affiliate of the Colorado-based "Focus on
the Family" is also in strong support of Cullerton¹s legislation.

# # # #
PHOTO: From left to right ­ Donna Dausman, Director of the Office of Family
and Youth Ministry for the Springfield Diocese, Gemma Allen, a Chicago
Divorce Attorney and founder of Chicago-based Think Tank and Policy Group
for Marriage and Divorce Policies and Initiatives and State Senator John
Cullerton, Chief Sponsor of Senate Bill 24 testify before the Senate¹s
Judiciary Committee.

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Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW,   Washington, DC 20015-1961
www.smartmarriages.com  202-362-3332
cmfce at smartmarriages.com

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