Proposed Florida bill to require engaged couples to read 'healthy marriage guide'

Couples could have some light reading to do before saying 'I do'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Couples may have to do some required reading before being able to say "I do" in Florida.

A proposed law would require engaged couples to read "Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage." 

State Sen. Dennis Baxley filed SB 682 Tuesday, detailing how this legislation could be implemented.

Baxley proposed the creation of a Marriage Education Committee, created within the Department of Children and Families. The committee's sole task would be to create the guide.

The "Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage" should contain resources and information about conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities and management, and how to maintain a long-term marital relationship. 

The committee will have six marriage education and family advocates. Two will be appointed by the governor, two by the president of the Senate, and two by the speaker of the House.

If the bill becomes law, the committee would need to be chosen by Sept. 1, 2020. Appointees would each serve a one-year term or until the guide has been created, whichever is earlier. The committee would be chosen again every 10 years after July 2020. 

When a couple applies for their marriage license, they'd be provided the guide and would need to read through it or some other presentation of similar information. 

Finds would be raised from private sources to cover the cost of design and layout for the guide.

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