Professor’s Work in Covenant Marriage Draws State and National Recognition

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“Louisiana has been designated as one of eight high activity states nationally as relates to marriage strengthening in a policy paper published by the Center for Law and Social Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank,” according to Professor Katherine Spaht. She has recently consulted with several national organizations, including the Institute for American Values and the Office of the Administration of Children and Families of HHS in Washington . ACF is President George Bush’s lead agency for his “Healthy Marriage” initiative.

In 1997, Spaht’s work at the state capitol resulted in the passage of the “Covenant Marriage” law and this past session in the addition of five new provisions to the legislation. According to Spaht, “[t]he five [new] provisions in Louisiana law were based on a study of civil codes from around the world.” Her work also spawned a study by the National Science Foundation, conducted by Professor Steven Nock at the University of Virginia , and the results will accompany a soon-to-be released article by Spaht examining the extent to which covenant couples actually conduct their married lives in accordance with the new 2004 legislation.

Several presentations by Professor Spaht are planned for the coming year, including invited presentations at Hillsdale College in Michigan, as well as Harvard University Law School and Princeton University. At Hillsdale College her remarks will address the topic of What’s Wrong with No-Fault Divorce. Her paper, Postmodern Marriage As Viewed Through the Lens of the ALI Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, will be presented at Harvard, while her work titled, The Current Crisis in Marriage Law, will be the topic of her paper presented to the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton University. Her paper, The Origins of the American Covenant Marriage Movement, will appear in a new book to be published in September 2004, through the auspices of Emory University titled, Covenant Marriage in Comparative Perspective. Spaht’s Law Center summer research grant has also resulted in a new publication titled, Covenant Marriage Seven Years Later: Its as Yet Unfulfilled Promise.

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