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THE ETHICS OF DIVORCE, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914
THE ETHICS OF DIVORCE
DISCUSSION IN THE LORDS. # The ethics of divorce were under discussion for several hours in the House ol Lords, when land Goreil, son of the form er President of the Ddvorca Court, moved the second reading of a Bill to give effect- to a number of the recommendations which are common to the majority and minority reports of the Divorce Commission. The position of women under the present divorce law, his lordship said, was fe!t as a very hitter grievance, and he thought the time was ripe tor removing (he grievance and for equalising their posi-. lion, so that whatever grounds were permitted to a husband for obtaining a divorce from his wife, the ■same grounds should be available for a wife in'a suit against her husband. It was proposed that there should be nullity of marriage in cases of unsound .mind, of vrilepsr and recurrent insanity, and for < erlain specified causes.- There was a clause allowing proceedings for a. decree on presumption of death after an absence of seven years, and another making the law of England similar to that of Scotland, placing husband and wife on the same footing as to the grounds on which divorce could be granted. By clause 25 power was given to the Court to hear cases in camera if, in the opinion of the Judge, it was in the interests of decency, morality, humanity, or justice to do so.
A Roman Catholic Peer (Lord Brave), in moving the rejection of lie Bill', said he was wholly opposed to the principle contained in it. It might be objected that this country, having long ago renounced the Catholic religion, it was not for ono professing that religion to interfere. That might apply in France a-r.d in Portugal, where the Government were anti-Christian, but fragmentary Christianity lingered in England, and these who had something in common should unite to stem the ride of what was one of the moat exciting causes of immorality—namely, the facility of remarrying, divorce. He appealed -to j the House to check the appalling floed. of 1 infidelity and French revolutionary views, j The Lord Chancellor said that their I Lordships were under a debt of gratitude to Lord Gorcll for the thoroughness with | which ho had prepared his Bill. The propositions therein contained Trad been .-greed to by both sections of the Royal Commission. The attitude of the Government was shortly this : they thought there was much in the divorce law which called for improvement and reform, quite apart from broad questions of principle. 'I aey thought that the prepositions on which the Commission agreed were highly deserving of consideration, and they looked with favor upon the general principle of the Bill; but it was impossible that it could pass into law this session, as it was too complicated and controversial. There were one or two points on which he would like time for consideration, such as the publication of-report.? of divorce proceedings, lie hoped the Bill would be road a second tune, for the purpose of expressing approval of a very moderate and substantially non-eontroversial question of reform. —The Accidental Lapse.The Archbishop of York, as a member of the Commission, supported tho second reading, but he did so with iVm grealqit pens'bie rclucla-nte. ■ lie rega-dtr' 'CT:ywtiaii marriage as indissoluble, except by death. He believed the Divorce Act had Cone more harm than good to the moih.l and social life of England. But as the Act did exist, as a good citizen he was bound to see. that where there were abuses thev ought to be remedied. He was entirely iii favor of equality between the .'.’•xcc in regard (o the ground? of divorce. Tim evidence of tin* Judges hi Scot land (where equality between husband and wits prevailed I showed that tho number i.f cases where a wife brought a suit again.-t a husband for a single lapse was very few. Ho v a? in favor of the proposed grounds for nullity of mariiagf. Ke was m entire sympathy with the proposals a< to (separation orders —-that t.'iey ’ should onhr he available for iwo years, and if they were to be converted into judicial separation it .thouid only be at the instance of the High t 'ouri. Toe Archbishop c.i Canterbury was in favor of preventing the indiscriminate publication of the poisonous of unsavory : itmr which found its way julo f-vine new- papers in connection with divorce proceeding?. A check could bo put upon that v.inout interfering with, the freedom of t.iC Vic mint Halifax appealed to l/>rd (f .reil nnr to nro< ?<vl with tho Dill. The Divorce Court? were honeycombed with perjury ami coilurion. and putting the wish cn the eime footing n? the husband would in wt certai’ilv >:).;• t eec the chances of col-hr-ion. to ray nothing of outer ilisa-u;ms con: eijU.-n'o-.-. j.oici Goreli or.id he felt that the eiistus- ?;• had ;. ! ved :i very useful purpose, and ihcrc was no p.ibl:; pr-’-fpeei this session «,/ the mallei being carried i.rmongh. h.~- would ask have, in withdraw 1,;., moth..!! for liie frrond leading of the Bill. jintii the amendment arid the moin'.D v.'.'iv arcordiji,gjy. i.y wave. v. ithorawii.
THE ETHICS OF DIVORCE, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914
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