Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hold Men to Same Standard as Women, Don't Make Divorce Easier, 1919

From the editorial page of the Brevard News, March 7, 1919; M.L. Shipman, Editor; C.B. Osborne, Managing Editor and Publisher; and Gertrude R. Zachary, City Editor.

A Wise Decision

Once again has the General Assembly of North Carolina decided that divorces shall not be made easier by legislative enactment. Two or three bills relating to the divorce question and destined to make that instrument more easily obtained have been introduced and promptly rejected. There is force in the suggestion that men should be required to observe the same standard of morals that are demanded by society of the weaker sex. Both should be measured by the same standard. At the same time there should be no letting down of the bars of the divorce laws of the State and the present General Assembly is showing wisdom in disapproving any further laxity in the requirements touching marital relations and obligations.

The practice of letting down the bars for the benefit of special cases started way back in 1899 and resulted in a goodly crop of separations within a few years. Marriage became a mockery and the evil of divorce thrived for a time. The double standard of morals will hardly be more harmful than would letting down the bars for the purpose of making divorce easier. The point advanced that men who insist—and rightly so—that their wives shall “keep themselves unspotted form the world” should measure their own conduct by the same yardstick. Only three states—Kentucky, New York and North Carolina—make a distinction on this point and the Raleigh solons argued well the point that changes in the present law contemplated by the proposed measure might be used by immoral men to impose upon innocent women in the practice of nefarious schemes against society was well taken. But the Legislature has wisely concluded that divorce shall not be made easier in North Carolina at this time. And the point is well taken.

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