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Mississippi 5-year divorce bill defeated; AP story misrepresents as being about abuse

Miss. House defeats divorce bill | The Associated Press | Washington Examiner.

Senate Bill 2652, passed by the Senate but now defeated in the House, would have allowed divorce on grounds of bona fide, complete separation for five years, although  a judge could still refuse a divorce to protect the best interests of the children. The story widely reprinted through the Associated Press says the bill "would have given a spouse grounds for divorce if they have been away from an abusive situation for five years" -- but the bill says nothing about abuse or violence, because existing Mississippi law, reprinted in the bill, already allows immediate divorce in such situations, on grounds of "cruel and inhuman treatment." The author's rationale for saying the bill is about abuse is that "Backers say the bill would have made it easier for spouses, usually wives, to file for divorce when that spouse leaves home to avoid abuse". (That may be literally, marginally, true, but it is basically false, false enough that it fooled the author of the story - it implies that they cannot already get a divorce based on abuse. Sort of like saying repealing all dog laws would make things easier for seeing-eye dogs.) Amendments to increase the wait period to seven or twenty years were also defeated.

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