GOP Lawmaker: We Must Make It Harder To Divorce Or Teenage Girls Will Be ‘More Promiscuous’

Rep. Tedd Gassman

On Monday, the Iowa state House moved out of subcommittee a bill that would make no-fault divorces illegal. That’s a huge relief for one state legislator, who fears that no-fault divorce will turn his 16-year-old granddaughter into a harlot.

State Representative Tedd Gassman (R) spoke emotionally about the legislation — which would require all parents of children under 18 to prove their spouse had committed a crime, abandoned the family, or committed adultery — saying that it related to the real-life scenario of his daughter’s divorce. That situation, he said, was at risk of turning his daughter into a hormonal trollop:

“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 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?” Gassman said.

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?”

No-fault divorces allow unhappy couples to put an end to their marriages, so it is not at all clear that they are worse for a child than continuing a marriage where parents resent the kid for keeping them together against their will. And while it does not address the problems with power and economic disparity (PDF) between high-earning male spouses and low-earning women, no-fault divorce is a quick solution for a victim of domestic violence to escape an otherwise dangerous situation. Additionally, one study showed that fewer women committed suicide or were murdered by intimate partners in states with more liberal divorce laws.


Iowa House Judiciary Committee Chairman Chip Baltimore (R) said on Tuesday that the bill would not be heard before the full committee, a decision that the Demoines Register ties to the “controversial comments” made by Gassman.

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