A version of this article was first published in the Winter 2012 edition of The Canadian Observer, http://www.canadianobservermag.ca/
It was a story from Mexico City that did the rounds in the media. At the end of September 2011, a city counselor introduced a reform to the civil code that would create two-year (read temporary) marriage licenses.1 Certainly, this proposal sounded wrong to many. For traditionalists, it entirely changed the purpose of marriage. For progressives, it was severely unromantic. Understandings of what marriage is may differ, but the ideal that it is forever is almost universally accepted, like the diamonds women receive upon engagement. Or is it?
This two-year marriage proposal (at time of printing, it had not passed into law) rings a little cheap for most, like the extension of a Las Vegas quickie wedding that is dissolved immediately after the hang-over wears off. However, the reality is that Canadian law actually values marriage as a short-term prospect through no-fault divorce. The shift from “fault” to “no-fault” divorce ultimately created a dynamic whereby one unhappy spouse who wanted out—for any reason or no reason at all—could unilaterally do so simply by moving out, be it two months or two years in. The end result is that we speak idealistic words (“till death do us part”) on our wedding days, knowing full well that when the going gets tough, we can—and do—get going.
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