Utah Marriage Commission still going strong after 15 years

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – After 15 years, the Utah Commission on Marriage is committed to staying together.

The commission was founded in 1998 by former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and former Utah First Lady Jackie Leavitt with the purpose of helping Utahns form and sustain healthy and enduring marriages. Over a decade later, the commission is still together and their goal remains the same.

Traditionally, the 15th wedding anniversary gift is crystal. This “anniversary,” however, the gift came in the form of statute.  HB147, a bill sponsored by Reps. LaVar Christensen and John Valentine in the 2013 legislative session, was ceremonially signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Gary R. Herbert in the Gold Room of the Utah State Capitol.

“As the marriage commission is signed into law, Utah families will continue to benefit from the resources and services provided by this research-based effort,” Jackie Leavitt said.  “As the first statewide marriage commission in the country, it continues to be a leader in strengthening marriages.”

Formerly part of Utah Department of Workforce Services, the commission will now be based within the Utah Department of Human Services.

“Supporting and strengthening Utah families has always been a priority for Human Services,”DHS Executive Director Palmer DePaulis said. “We are excited to welcome the Utah Commission on Marriage to our agency and feel it is one more avenue for us to achieve this priority.”

The commission offers seminars and programs in Washington County. A complete list of upcoming events can be found here.

For more information on the Utah Commission on Marriage, visit StrongerMarriage.org.

Submitted by: Elizabeth Sollis

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News
Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

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  • Matthew Sevald June 1, 2013 at 2:10 am

    While strong families make for a strong society (even Augustus thought so and made a series of reforms to curtail what he saw as the moral decay of Roman society http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/116/ ), I don’t believe its the government’s job to be doing this. This is entirely the role of private groups, charities, churches.
    Since this is now a government thing, its going to have to be secular and “all-inclusive” as far as the philosophies behind what makes a good marriage. Who’s going to be choosing what’s included and what isn’t? What about when people inevitably get offended? Knowing the beliefs of the majority of Utahns and the history of significant church and state cahoots, is this going to have an improper Mormon bias?
    These are all things that apparently weren’t considered and should have led to the demise of this well-intentioned, yet inappropriate governmental action. Where were all the small-government minded Utahns when this was happening?

    • Matthew Sevald June 1, 2013 at 3:00 am

      Right from the website, to the side on one of the cycling header pictures is this quote:
      “I think that a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the simple reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man and a woman to understand each other and…To understand – is to love.” – John Butler Yeats
      You know someone is going to complain about this – it completely alienates the gay community. Granted, if it were one quote amongst many of diverse views then one would be hard pressed to find it offensive as it is a piece of the whole of human experiences. However, there’s not a single gay-friendly quote to be found on the website. Are gay citizens to be denied services or to be under- or even not represented by this commission? Are their needs for healthy and stable relationships and interactions less important because the government or the citizenry doesn’t recognize their right to participate in such bonds? Do we really want the “cutesey” and “feel good” anecdotal sayings of an Irish artist who’s been dead for 91 years to appear as the guiding and motivational philosophies behind this GOVERNMENT-RUN campaign, rather than the teachings of educated and trained philosophers, counselors, and social scientists?
      Again, more food for thought as to why this is a bad idea for the government to be spearheading such a program. I highly suggest this program and its noble goals be transferred quickly to private concerns to avoid scandal and a bureaucratic quagmire.

      • spectator in the cheap seats June 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        SPOT ON…

    • My Bad June 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Just as churches and religions need to stay out of government politics.

  • My Bad June 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

    My bad. Thought the 15 years in the title meant the average age of Utah religious girls getting engaged to be married.

  • spectator in the cheap seats June 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Well, more Government waste ….. brought to you by the laughing stock of Cedar City ..Our former Govenor … Sounds like another fairy tale , versus reality here in 2013 . JFK is gone, Camelot is gone , and we are NOT in the 1960’s anymore. I think the reason for a spike in divorces within the State of Utah …. could be that young adults are pressured in to Marriage , building a family etc. …all because the TV show broadcasted from the planet Kolob said so !!! . The younger adult population should stand up to this nonsense !! , Just say NO …. Go out and see this beautiful planet we all call home, then build your adult life as you see fit , and it makes YOU happy. If you choose to be married and have enough children to form a baseball team … so be it. If you choose to go down the path and get married and NOT any children ,Great , have a happy life . If your life , involves someone of the same sex . Great ! , have a awesome happy life. LOOK , we all live on the same PLANET . It is time for all to get along, and respect one another . All religions bash this or that … But unfortunately , It is their followers that do more damage to the population that the religion itself .

  • Annoyed June 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Should the government be involved in these issues? Should civil marriage even exist? No

    I think it is interesting that so many people bring the church into these discussions. The reason divorces are becoming higher in the state is because of all the people from outside of the church moving into the state and because of the many people from the church who choose to live different life styles.

    If you don’t agree with the views of the church that is fine but at least be big enough to put blame where blame is due.

    Members of the church are not perfect and don’t claim to be. When I look around at the problems locally they are most often caused by “others”. I went for a drive in Santa Clara recently and saw broken beer and liquor bottles scattered around and all sorts of other trash most likely left behind by the same. When you hear of people talking about outsiders and not being welcome it is because of this and other examples of a lack of respect for the land and what the area stands for.

    There are plenty of other places available to live where the kind of lifestyle you want is exceptable. This is why many encourage those to move on instead of fighting a losing battle to change, ruin, and make as many people miserable as you can. If you can be here and respect the culture and the land fine, if not move along.

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