New bill would require Florida couples to read a 'marriage guide' before getting hitched


In need of marriage advice prior to your the big day? Just ask the Florida Legislature.

Earlier this month, Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, filed the "Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage" bill, which would prohibit couples from getting a marriage license in Florida until it’s verified that they’ve read the state’s new handy dandy guide on how you should conduct life alongside your love-abiding spouse. The move comes after Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed the Senate version the week prior.

It's underlying purpose, according to lawmakers: to reduce the number of divorces in Florida by carefully going over topics that range from conflict management to communication, parenting responsibilities to domestic violence, among others.

“The statistics have been staggering over the years for divorces and kind of the subsequent problems that go along with that, like children who don’t have families that are put together,” Yarborough told Action News Jacksonville.

Taxpayers won’t be responsible for funding the publishing of such booklets, Yarborough added. The committee in charge of the bill hopes to fund the guide from donations provided by private sources.

This, of course, is coming from members of the GOP – albeit the same party whose platform revolves around the idea of less government and less regulation. So it makes perfect sense as to why they’d want to regulate any Florida couple’s marriage all while distributing state-required reading.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.