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Humbug Square - Divorce deferred

Lifestyles of the right-wing and libidinous

I see that the big-government Republicans in the General Assembly are trying to make it take longer to get a divorce in Georgia.

Praise the Lord!

But they're wimps. They only want a six-month delay in divorces for couples with kids.

That's nothing. I put off my divorce for seven years.

I would have put it off even longer if I had known what awaited me in Cobb County Superior Court.

I've just been married the one time, unless you count that common-law arrangement in the '90s. And one of the reasons I haven't gotten remarried is the trauma surrounding divorce court.

I had good intentions in my marriage. We were having problems and went into marriage counseling. For seven long years we counseled. They tell me it's a record.

When I finally worked up the courage to ask for a divorce, in 1989, the marriage counselor said, "Thank God!"

And then the fun began. My wife sued me first. She hired one of these feminist monster lawyers who really know how to destroy a man under intense cross-examination, zeroing in on such minor flaws as being drunk for the first 11 years of a marriage.

My wife went after custody of the two kids, child support, alimony, the house and one of those Ford minivans that chewed up tires.

I knew I was in trouble when I saw her strut saucily into the courtroom looking like she'd been hosed down by the Mary Kay truck.

When she took the stand, she physically lifted the witness chair and turned it sideways so that she directly faced the judge instead of the courtroom. I've never seen anything like it - and I watch Court TV.

She smiled at him as if he were just about the cutest 75-year-old stud muffin she'd ever seen. And the judge smiled as if she were the cutest little Cobb County ALTA player coated with seven layers of makeup that he'd ever seen.

The "feminist" lawyer had trained my wife to flirt with the judge. Worse, the judge was flirting back.

"Aww, shit," whispered my lawyer. Those are the last two words you ever want to hear from your lawyer in divorce court.

Then I got on the stand. The monster feminist pulled up a blackboard and, over the course of the next hour or so, wrote down every penny I had ever made. She proceeded to get it all.

My ex-wife grinned at the judge all the way to the bank. She got 80 percent of my take-home pay in child support and alimony, the house, the minivan, bank accounts, the kids' college accounts, tuition payments if she chose to go back to school, and the pennies in an old pair of loafers. I even had to pay the monster feminist's bill.

But I was divorced and, by God, I stayed divorced.

I was so broke that I moved into the back room of my friend Chuck Walston's house in Home Park. I shared a single bed with his golden Lab, Buzzy, who was a good dog but a bad roommate. He hogged the covers.I had to learn to live within my means, and I didn't have any means. But I noticed something one day when I was walking Buzzy around Home Park: I was whistling.

One of the reasons I haven't gotten remarried is that I am phobic about the state having that kind of power over me. Especially now that the state is becoming a theocracy.

The Republicans now have absolute power at the state level and many of them are religious-right zealots. Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate, is proposing the delay in divorce. Over in the House, Republican Speaker Glenn Richardson promises a vote this year on legislation that would delay getting an abortion in Georgia. Passage of both measure looks greased.

Backers of Seabaugh's bill want the divorce delay for couples with children because they hope it will convince the parents to change their minds and will keep them together for the sake of the kids. Likewise, the "Woman's Right to Know" bill would require a woman considering an abortion to wait 24 hours and be pummeled with anti-abortion information so she'll change her mind and have the baby. The state sure would be busy changing all these minds. But the divorce delay and the abortion delay are like little training wheels, the early stages of a theological takeover of our private lives. Other great notions on the menu include outlawing the teaching of evolution, posting the Ten Commandments in public places, and requiring students to pledge allegiance to, of all things, the new Georgia flag.

We're on an irreversible path toward the day when radical clerics from the Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic churches join hands beneath the Gold Dome in Atlanta to regulate every uterus and bedroom in Georgia.

The funny thing is that some of these bills would really crimp the lifestyles of the right-wing and libidinous.Take Newt Gingrich, for instance.

The former Georgian is talking about running for president in 2008, which is driving sales of his latest book. He says the next presidential race boils down to two words: "under God."

For Christ's sake, Gingrich is a twice-divorced adulterer. He was always in such a mad rush to get divorced and move on to the next woman that he dumped his wives when they were sick.

Most people know - but don't seem to care - that Gingrich discussed divorce with his first wife, Jackie, in 1981, while she was in a hospital recovering from cancer surgery.

Then he dumped his second wife, Marianne, while she was suffering from a neurological disorder that could have led to multiple sclerosis. That was reported in the New York Post, of all places, in July 2000. Gingrich asked her for divorce while she was visiting his mother on Mother's Day in 1999.

Gingrich's lawyer claimed Newt didn't know Marianne might have been sick. Marianne's lawyer says Newt knew all about it. I'm guessing that Gingrich might not have known about Marianne's health concerns because he was so busy fornicating with Callista Bisek, who became his third wife.

A divorce delay also might have slowed down the action in the official state soap opera, "The Governor's Daughter's Trooper." Leigh Perdue Brett dumped her husband last May and married one of her dad's state trooper bodyguards in September. A six-month delay might have put off the wedding until November.

The thing that really gets me about the "conservatives" who want to take over our private lives is that they're talking about delaying divorce to benefit children, as if they actually cared about children beyond birth.

Despite the GOP's constant bloviating about children, the proof is in the pudding. The most tragic mother in the state, for my money, is Sadie Fields, the right-wing head of the Christian Coalition of Georgia. She has a lesbian daughter who won't even speak to her because Fields' interpretation of the Scriptures is so vicious.

I can't imagine using the Bible to separate me from my children, who are the great blessings of my life. And I think getting divorced led me to become a better father than I would've been in a dead marriage. The divorce hurt my children, of course, but it also helped open up a channel for honest communication between parent and child. I don't think that's illegal in Georgia.

Yet.

Doug.monroe@creativeloafing.com Senior Editor Doug Monroe not only is phobic about marriage, but he also has some concerns about second dates.??