Representative Tedd Gassman was on a three-member subcommittee that debated the bill Monday. Gassman said the issue is “near and dear” to his heart because his daughter and son-in-law recently divorced, putting his granddaughter at risk.
“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?”
Under the proposed legislation, parents with kids under the age of 18 would be prohibited from obtaining a no-fault divorce. Instead, they’d have to show a spouse was guilty of adultery, had been sent to prison on a felony conviction, had physically or sexually abused someone in the family, or had abandoned the family for at least a year.
“This basically is an attempt on my part to keep fathers in the home,” Gassman said. “I sincerely believe that the family is the foundation of this nation and this nation will go the direction of our families. If our families break up, so will this nation.”
Representative Marti Anderson, a Democrat from Des Moines who opposes the bill, said the tension in her childhood home lasted eight years, until her parents divorced back when fault had to be proven. “The stay-together time was very, very damaging to my family,” said Anderson, the oldest of four children, “and although we’re all adults now, I’m not sure any of us have ever really gotten past that.”