Target: State Representative Tedd Gassman
Goal: Condemn Rep. Gassman for justifying attempt to restrict no-fault divorce on the basis that it makes women “promiscuous.”
All 50 states in the US currently allow no-fault divorce, meaning that neither party must show that abuse, adultery or abandonment is the cause of the divorce. Prior to no-fault divorce, spouses were required to prove in court that one of the parties had engaged in wrongdoing. This made it difficult for women to leave abusive situations and also led to a significant amount of falsified claims. Rep. Gassman would like to get rid of no-fault divorce on the basis that it encourages young women, like his granddaughter, to be promiscuous. Condemn Gassman for his outrageously sexist statement and attempt to restrict no-fault divorce.
Gassman’s proposed law would restrict divorce to cases where there has been, “adultery, physical or sexual abuse, imprisonment or if one partner is missing for more than a year or the couple has lived apart for more than two years.” He claims that the law will help prevent the breakup of American families. Gassman’s statement is made more ridiculous by the fact that studies show that no-fault divorce helps women in abusive situations. An economist at the University of Pennsylvania found that no-fault divorce helped reduce the rate of domestic violence. State Rep. Marti Anderson voiced the sentiment that “the stay-together time was very, very damaging to my family and although we’re all adults now, I’m not sure any of us have ever really gotten past that.”
Finally, in his most absurd proclamation, Gassman said that because his granddaughter’s family was undergoing divorce he was fearful the situation would encourage her to be promiscuous, “There’s a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous? What are the possibilities of all these other things surrounding her life that a 16-year-old girl, with hormones raging, can get herself into?” Sign the petition to condemn Gassman’s absurd sexist statements and oppose his attempt to restrict no-fault divorce.
Dear State Representative Gassman,
I am a citizen writing to condemn your sexist remarks on no-fault divorce and attempt to restrict the ability of couples to have no-fault divorces. It seems that many representatives such as yourself are highly concerned about regulating the sexual behavior of young women. You say that no-fault divorce encourages young women to be promiscuous; however, men are apparently exempt and play no part. It was particularly inappropriate and insensitive for you to reference your teenage granddaughter and suggest that she would become promiscuous because her parents are undergoing divorce. This reflects a patriarchal and sexist double standard, one I’m sure your granddaughter does not appreciate.
Furthermore, no-fault divorce is particularly helpful in allowing women to leave abusive domestic situations. Prior to no-fault divorce women had to prove that, their husband was abusing them with evidence. Standard rules of proof applied so things like photographs and witnesses testimony were required. Courts were more inclined to believe the word of a man. No-fault divorce freed women from having to be stuck in dangerous situations.
Finally, prior to no-fault divorce there was a widespread practice of falsifying claims of adultery. Men and women would both sometimes arrange to have their spouses catch them in the act or mailed photographs so that courts would allow them to get divorced.
I hope you reconsider your position on no-fault divorce in light of the evidence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nick Nguyen via Flickr