- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NORFOLK (AP) — The Family Foundation is trying to reduce the number of divorces in Virginia by recommending public policies that could preserve traditional marriages.

The conservative advocacy group, which led the push to ban same-sex “marriage” in the state, has formed a commission to formulate the policies.

The first meeting was July 12 and included academics and religious leaders, said Victoria Cobb, the foundation”s executive director.

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell and Lt. Gov. William T. Bolling, both Republicans, have appointed representatives. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, likely will do the same, said Kevin Hall, the governor”s spokesman. The commission is expected to meet again in September.

Commission members want to have a list of proposals for lawmakers before the next General Assembly session, starting in January. Members will not try to curb all divorce, Mrs. Cobb said.

“There”s no question that some people are going to get divorced, no matter what,” she said. “But the law can provide speed bumps.”

In 2004, there were 3.7 divorces per 1,000 people nationally and 7.8 marriages per 1,000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That year in Virginia, there were 3.9 divorces per 1,000 people and 8.3 marriages per 1,000.

“Everyone agrees there is a problem, and no one is attempting to solve it,” said Mrs. Cobb, who was frustrated by the legislature”s failure this year to pass any of a half-dozen bills on marriage and divorce, including one promoted by her group.

Two proposals attempting to study the impact of no-fault divorce on marriage died in the General Assembly this year.

The group spent last year urging voters to support a constitutional amendment that would block same-sex “marriages” in the commonwealth. The amendment passed, despite vocal opposition from homosexual rights activists.

Mrs. Cobb said she agreed with one point made by amendment opponents.

“Considering the high rate of divorce, heterosexuals haven”t done a very good job with marriage,” she said.