MADISON, Wis. - A couple would be able to get married right after their divorce under a new bill being considered at the state Capitol. If passed, the bill would eliminate the state's six-month waiting period after a divorce for a person to get remarried.
Eugene Dempsey says he waited for years to divorce his wife and months more for the divorce to be finalized. That is why he said he didn't want to wait any longer to marry the woman he calls his best friend.
"Come to find out that I had to wait an additional six months after that before Sandra and I could be married. It was just another kick in the pants," Dempsey said.
Current law requires a person who has been divorced to wait 120 days before they can legally remarry. Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Delafield, who authored the bill, said the state should not be making personal decisions for couples. She believes it could help couples who get pregnant, buy a house or need health insurance.
"I have faith in people. I think they can make their own decisions, they don't need the government running their life. My goal is to have the government out of your life. People make good decisions; they know what's best for them," she said.
Conservative family group, Wisconsin Family Action, believes a waiting period gives a person a chance to work on a new relationship before entering into another marriage. They also say the waiting period helps decrease the likelihood of another divorce.
"You are legislating for the public good. You are legislating for the impact of the majority of the people. No, I don’t always think after that 4 month period (for a divorce to be finalized) everything is hunky dory and you can just jump into a new relationship but those in support disagree and say that commitment should be a personal decision," said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action.
Those who support the bill, like Alicia Dorsett, who has been divorced said their commitment in marriage should be a personal decision.
"I know my feelings and emotions better than anyone who could create a law that would prevent me from getting married. I should not be punished and discriminated against simply because I have been divorced," Dorset said.
Duchow said the bill has received bipartisan support. She hopes there will be a hearing in the Senate.
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