Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wife-beaters:1 Victims: 0. Thank you, State Senators.

Paul Hampton provided more details in the Sun-Herald on why the bill that would have added domestic violence as a ground for divorce died just short of the finish line last week in the Mississippi legislature.  It seems an additional ground for divorce was added in conference committee that didn't sit too well with some members.  Mr. Hampton reported:

A bill that would have added domestic violence as grounds for divorce in Mississippi died after House and Senate conferees added a 14th, less-palatable ground to the bill.

The bill sponsored by Sens. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula; Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven; and Jennifer Branning, R-Philadelphia, began with a 13th ground for divorce -- "one or more instances of domestic violence as defined in Section 97-3-7, if established by clear and convincing evidence."

That ground was further modified by an amendment from Reps. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, and Omeria Scott, D-Laurel. That amendment read:

"Domestic Violence: An intentional act where the perpetrator causes serious bodily injury to his spouse or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to his spouse, if established by clear and convincing evidence. 'Serious bodily injury' is defined as bodily injury the involves: (1) a substantial risk of death; (2) extreme physical pain; (3) protracted and obvious disfigurement; and (4) protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ or mental faculty."

Those changes required the bill to go back to a conference committee, where the 14th ground was added.

So far, so good.  However, the ground that was added was not welcome by some Senators:

That ground would have been: "Willful and continued separation without co-habitation, with the intent not to return or resume or otherwise continue the marital relationship, for not less than two years. Either party may have a divorce based on this cause."

But Wiggins said that didn't sit well with Sen. Angela Turner, D-West Point.

"She argued that people should stay married," he said. Turner moved to recommit the bill to the conference committee, that motion passed and the bill returned to the committee, where it died.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/news/politics-government/article73376587.html#storylink=cpy
Thank you, Senator Turner and the other 25 Senators.  JJ attempted to find out how the Senators voted on the motion but was unable to do so since the vote was counted by division and not by a roll call of members present.  The bill was going to pass until Senator Turner moved to recommit the bill. The black caucus then voted en masse to support her as did a few social conservatives and presto, the bill was dead.

It probably never occurred to Senator Turner  (She probably did not care) that an abuser will refuse to grant a divorce to the victim in too many cases.  Some abusers are actually smart enough not to cause bruises or broken bones.  They will instead make life a living hell for the victim.  The additional ground for separation would have provided a way for a victim of abuse to leave an abusive marriage when the other spouse will not agree to a divorce.

JJ wants to give a big "THANK YOU" to Senator Angela Turner, the wife-beater's best friend, for giving another reason for Mississippi to hold its head high with pride:

 Don't forget to thank Senators Brice Wiggins, Sally Doty, and Jennifer Branning for standing up for victims of domestic violence and trying to help them.  A shame more Senators won't do so.

Kingfish note: Read the bill history.  There are some interesting votes cast.


Anonymous said...

Domestic abuse and protecting those who cannot protect themselves is not that important. Now, allowing a business to refuse to serve a person just because they do not like that person's choice of who they care for, is something worth fighting for.

Burke said...

My god, Angela Turner. "People need to stay married"? Why, you pompous jerk. I suppose you wouldn't be satisfied until there were NO grounds for divorce.

Sick, sick, sick.

Anonymous said...

I agree with KF about Sen. Turner. However, I disagree with the additional language that Mark Baker posed for the very reason stated in KF's example. In most domestic violence cases, the abuser does so without leaving marks on the victim. Therefore, Mark Baker's addition to the bill RE: the definition of domestic violence would prevent a victim with no signs of physical violence, or with some superficial wounds, from obtaining a divorce.

Whether the wounds inflicted by the abuser are great or small, they are no less an act of violence for which many victims (mainly women) are trapped to endure over and over and over again until it escalates into something more than just injuries.

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

the first version would have allowed a divorce for one spouse simply slapping the other; the second version requiring serious bodily harm made sense. the two year separation also makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment is typically the ground used for domestic violence. Sec. 93-5-1(seventh)

Anonymous said...

I have a dream, that one day black legislators and white legislators will sit down together at the conference committee table of brotherhood with an equal opportunity to humiliate the State of Mississippi!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Angela Turner. Inexcusable, and inexcusable for the black caucus to back her. Shame on all of them. The whole Legislature, black and white, needs to be turned over so a younger, smarter group, less prone to embarrass themselves and all of Mississippi with them, can take over.
With the HB 1523 bill of Rep. J. Andrew Gibson of Jones Walker(R. Cow Pie),at the top of the list, and now this failure to act when clearly warranted, probably the worst year for the Legislature in the last 40 years. GO HOME! DON'T COME BACK! SEND SOMEONE, ANYONE ELSE NEXT TIME!

Anonymous said...

physical abuse is currently a ground for divorce.

would you please bitch about something else?

Anonymous said...

what's love got to do with it???? i guess she's too stupid to figure out what that one means...

Anonymous said...

habitual cruel and inhumane treatment does not cover domestic violence unless it is "habitual"; the new bill would eliminate the "habitual" element. habitual physical cruelty is the same thing, but you have to prove that the behavior occurs over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

Some of these legislators are probably guilty and they do not want their wives filing for divorcee and getting any of their SLURP or "Campaign" funds.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Turner's husband took her down a peg or two to change the vote!

Anonymous said...

Good for Angela Turner. She is a legislative hero. This was a bad bill, simply a backdoor way to allow anybody to make any flimsy allegation and go running to divorce court. If you want a divorce and want to file on grounds, Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment covers it just fine. If you don't want to file on grounds, a simple property settlement and a signed agreement is all it takes. If the supporters of divorce were honest, they would simply come forward and say that they want a bill with irreconcilable differences as grounds so they can go into Chancery Court with their lawyers and argue over property settlements for years on end. This bill had absolutely nothing to do with people being trapped in abusive marriages, it had everything to do with property settlements.

Anonymous said...

The simple solution would be to allow no fault divorces. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

One should have to prove grounds for getting married, not grounds for getting divorced.

Anonymous said...

I think marriage should be held in high esteem. However, abusive husbands put so much fear into their wives and children, that it makes it nearly impossible to prove habitual cruel and unusual treatment. The key word is habitual. So much of this goes on behind closed doors with no witnesses to confirm (other than young children). This is no marriage when abuse happens!

Anonymous said...

We are not marching back to the Dark Ages. We are running. Thank you GOP (for those who don't know that means Republicsns) .

Anonymous said...

Really simple solution....





Anonymous said...

Angela Turner is a pompous idiot (someone already noted that but let me reiterate.) And anyone who wants a divorce should be able to walk out the door without pleading their case to the judiciary. Marriage is an anachronism anyway. It's a conservative social and religious construct that should not be shoved down our throats.

Who needs your permission? said...

Marriage is stupid, archaic, and outdated. You can have a family WITHOUT the ever growing nanny state telling you what is and what isn't.

it's stuff like this that is what basically screams to my generation, "screw tradition". If people want to end a marriage they should be able to at any time for any reason and at any time just like an employer can fire anyone for anything at anytime WITHOUT a reason.

High Sparrow said...

A visit by the the Faith Militant may be in order.

Where's My Time Card? said...

That's sorta true, 10:53. While an employer, in Mississippi, can terminate one's employment at any time for any reason, he can still be hauled into a hearing or courtroom to justify his reasoning. Maybe you didn't know that.

Anonymous said...

Who needs your permission?

There are not just cultural but societal and legal reasons why marriage has been institutionalized in every society apart from the question of the legitimacy of children.

Indeed, I hate to break the news to you, but there is even something call " common law marriage" in most societies. That is when you live together and thus co-mingle property and assets for a designated period of time.

Then, the birthing and raising of children with financial responsibility and person responsibility attached is legitimate concern for a society.

Even with modern medicine and insurance companies wanting to kick everyone out of a hospital as soon as possible, there is still a recognized period where a mother and newborn are vulnerable as well.

As for the other idiots, including Angela Turner, if you shared a house with any human and you were slapped or hit or kicked or shoved or screamed at on a regular basis, you would see that as an intolerable and abusive situation. Indeed, if the person who shared your living space did the same to your dog, you'd find that intolerable!

And, frankly, if someone you are married to wants to divorce you because of an accidental injury, you are well out of that marriage! Be smart and divide assets accumulated during the marriage down the middle and don't pay the lawyers!

And, in a marriage with children, if you want to protect children, make sure that the person who has an affair with either the husband or wife and subsequently is as financially responsible for any children from the dissolved marriage as the parents and are required to contribute to making sure the children's lives are not adversely affected. That'll discourage those who don't respect the legal institution of marriage.

Anonymous said...

Kind of surprised this Legislature hasn't authorized no-fault divorces for gay couples only.

Anonymous said...

I generally agree that marriage is becoming a questionable deal for men.

That said, for most of the overweight, trilby-wearing men's rights activists who shout about marriage being an anachronism, it probably is a moot point.

Anonymous said...

7:11, please check the Ms. laws. There is no such animal as common law marriages. I personally know a couple that were together for over 20 years. Raised 3 children. The husband found a new woman and his common law wife was kicked to the curb.

AV8NLVR said...

Is Irreconcilable Differences a reason for divorce in Mississippi? If yes, then couldn't an abuse victim just file under that?

Anonymous said...

thank you. Amen to what you said. To those people who say that "people should stay married": you have no idea what abuse going on behind closed doors, without witnesses, without visible marks left on a victim. You have no idea what victims feel being trapped without a divorce for years, being held as hostages, abused again, and without any ability to prove it. Abusers are controlling and smart. They are not leaving their victim along even when a victim manages to leave abuser's house.

Anonymous said...

We have irreconcilable differences divorces in Mississippi, but they must be agreed to by both parties. An abuser would not agree. Proving habitual cruel and inhuman treatment can be difficult and expensive especially since most battered wives (or husbands) do not report the abuse to doctors. Often the victims suffer other psychological problems like depression or bipolar disorder, which provides a basis for the abuser to claim that they are "making it all up." Often, the facts are more dark in that the abused is so "trained" they find it difficult to help their lawyer prove much of anything.

The simple truth is that this is a prime example of why the government is hardly ever the answer. Almost always, some half-witted legislator is arrogant enough to wade into an issue they know nothing about and force their ill-concieved logic on everyone else. unfortunately, this issue can only be addressed by the government. Pray the idiots leave future bills to those that have actually studied the topic.

Anonymous said...

We have too many people wanting to mix religion with politics. Politics is bad enough without mixing in religion and religion is a reach without mixing in politics. Help Ms. keep them separate. We especially do not need anyone in political power that is controlled by some religion.

Anonymous said...

Ms. has always been years behind the other states. For some reason they are really showing it this year. Most of the time the ignorance can be overlooked as it mainly effects the people in Ms.
If only the religious nuts would read all of the bible instead of only reading a passage or two.

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