State lawmakers probably had the best of intentions in passing a law that allows couples to save $50 on marriage license fees by receiving 12 hours of premarital counseling.
Talking with a professional before getting married is only likely to help, and is a sensible step for a couple to take.
Reducing the state fee as an incentive, however, is a bit odd.
The first question is why a marriage license costs $70 in the first place.
It's tough to believe that the state's cost in granting this license, and filing the paperwork in each county, amounts to $70.
If so, the state is now losing money on processing marriage licenses by giving the $50 break.
Some people question the need for any license from the state to get married. They argue that the state has no business in this personal decision, and that marriage licenses are in effect a tax on marriage.
These may be valid points.
During debate, lawmakers said that this investment by the state will pay dividends in happier marriages, happier families and lower divorce rates.
So far, few have applied for the reduced fee. Time will only tell if this new law will impact the state's divorce rate.
It's doubtful, however, that couples who would most benefit from premarital counseling will want to receive it.
-- Owatonna People's Press
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