RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

FIRST AMENDMENT

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise theof….” The first words in the first amendment to the United States Constitution deal with religion. Our need for religious freedom is great.

RELIGION AND DIVORCE

Many people do not believe in divorce for religious reasons. While a divorce can be devastating for anyone, it is particularly so for someone who feels divorce is religiously wrong.

NO-FAULT DIVORCE

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. A.R.S. Sec. 25-312. There are two powerful forces in conflict: The right of a religious person to protect his or her marriage, and the right of the individual to control both his or her marriage and divorce. Arizona chose the right of any individual to terminate a marriage over religious protection for those who do not believe in divorce.

BALANCE

The legislature put in place safeguards in an effort to protect the religious beliefs as a public policy effort to balance the conflict. The conciliation provisions of A.R.S. Sec. 25-3381.09 were designed to require persons to make an effort at reconciliation. Second, A.R.S. Sec. 25-312(3) requires irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, as defined in A.R.S. Sec. 25-316, and provides a right to a hearing.

FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Arizona’s statutes must comply with the US Constitution.