Man Divorces Wife

Boston, August 22, 2006 -- Douglas Shale, a certified public accountant from Newton, Massachusetts, recently created an uproar among Marriage Protection Amendment proponents by filing for divorce from Sheila, his wife of nearly 14 months. Spokesmen for numerous conservative and right-wing religious groups denounced Shale's action as "shameful", and vowed to seek legislation to legally block any such future recourse.

The chaos was sparked when Mr. Shale, who claims his marriage to Sheila Shale, née Burke, wasn't working, filed for divorce with the help of his attorney, Peter Dixon of Dixon, Tolan, Pfleuger and Logue of Framingham.

"Mr. Shale informed me that he and his wife, Sheila, were not particularly compatible and both felt it would be wiser to part," said Mr. Dixon. "They're seeking a no-fault settlement, whereby each party will retain any assets they brought to the marriage, plus anything they earned or acquired during it."

According to Massachusetts law, Mr. Shale and his wife, who have no children, must begin with a short period of trial separation, following which their divorce may be finalized within as little as three months.

"It will be a relief, really," said Mr. Shale. "Sheila and I are on perfectly good terms, but we just don't think it makes any sense to remain married to each other. We got hitched more or less on a whim after bumping into each other in Vegas. We'd only known each other for about 24 hours. We get along fine, but as friends, not as life partners. Nobody holds any grudges. I frankly don't see what the fuss is all about."

Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, was quick with a rejoinder, once again urging lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment to protect marriage by prohibiting the practice of state-sanctioned legalized divorce.

"Marriage is vital to the stability and preservation of our society in which a father and a mother raise and nurture children," he said. "If we redefine what marriage is [by allowing divorce], then we send a message to the next generation that children do not need mothers and fathers. Marriage is a fundamental institution of this country that we have to protect from attack by unelected judges who want to redefine marriage and amend the Constitution by legislating from the bench. The process of amending the United States Constitution enables the American people to have a voice and offer their critical support for adopting a constitutional amendment to defend and protect the institution of marriage."

Santorum was referring to the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment, a constitutional amendment put forward by conservatives that would enact a federal statute prohibiting divorce.

Douglas and Sheila Shale, who are childless, find Santorum's remarks puzzling.

"What the heck do kids have to do with it?" said Mr. Shale. "We don't have any, not planning to have any. Can't in fact, have any, as my guys aren't very good swimmers. We just want to get a divorce. I don't see why the federal government thinks it has any right to butt in."

Senator Wayne Allard, Republican of Colorado, disagrees.

"This legislation is being introduced to protect and defend traditional marriage," said Senator Allard. "We must not stand still when the courts are being used to challenge and distort civilization's oldest, most venerable social institution. We are responding to that challenge."

Leading House and Senate Republicans are reportedly contemplating calling a special session of Congress to urge the passing of emergency "Defense of Marriage" legislation to prevent, in Senator Santorum's words, "any more ungodly acts of divorce."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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