Mexico City May Introduce Two-Year Marriages

Here's yet another reason why conservatives should stop freaking out about the push to legalize gay marriage: It could be so much worse. In 2009, liberal lawmakers made Mexico City the first Latin American city to legalize gay marriage. Now they want to introduce two-year marriages that would allow couples to either renew their agreement or easily dissolve their union if things aren't working out.

Reuters reports that this week a new bill was proposed that would change the civil code to allow couples to decide how long they want their commitment to be, with the shortest term being two years. Leonel Luna, the assemblyman who co-authored the bill, explains, "The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends." He added, "You wouldn't have to go through the tortuous process of divorce."

Lizbeth Rosas Montero, the bill's other author, told the BBC that they came up with the radical idea as a way to reduce the divorce rate. Marriage contracts would lay out what the couple plans to do about healthcare, educating children, finances, and who would care for children after a breakup. Half of all marriages in Mexico City end in divorce, usually within the first two years. Mendoza believes simplifying divorce would put less of a burden on the court system.

Naturally the proposal has plenty of critics. "Families campaigner" Consuelo Mendoza says it would contribute to a "throwaway culture," and put children through the trauma of wondering if their parents would remain married. Apparently Maddox Jolie-Pitt's alleged obsession with his parents' marital status has started a trend among pre-schoolers. The Catholic Church also weighed in, with Hugo Valdemar of the Mexican archdiocese saying, "This reform is absurd. It contradicts the nature of marriage."

It certainly contradicts the Catholic Church's definition, but "marriage" has meant many different things. Temporary marriage has existed throughout history and is currently practiced in parts of the Muslim world (though, it's often used to oppress women, which isn't what Mexican lawmakers have in mind). It's very possible that despite officials' good intentions, the law would only create more chaos for the courts to hash out. Yet in some ways a shorter commitment along with a plan for various eventualities just seems practical. Plus, as with legalizing gay marriage, allowing some couples to have shorter marriage contracts doesn't really affect those who want to commit for a lifetime. They don't have to split after two years, just as no heterosexual people are being forced into same-sex marriages.

'Til 2013 Do Us Part? Mexico Mulls 2-year Marriage [Reuters]
Mexico City Plans 'Renewable' Marriage [BBC]

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