About that bill to keep impending divorcees from slutting up their homes

New Massachusetts Sex/Divorce Law

Former Wrentham Selectman Robert Leclair explains his proposal - in 2011.

The nation once again is getting a good laugh/pushing the outrage button over a wacky Republican bill, this time by state Sen. Richard Ross of Wrentham (who replaced Scott Brown in the state senate) to prevent parents in the process of divorce from having sex in their homes without a court order.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Ross is in favor of chastity belts for pre-divorced women (because the parents who stay in the homes tend to be women). Because what absolutely nobody bothered to check, including the Globe, is whether Ross filed the bill all on his own.

He didn't. He filed the bill on behalf of a constituent, one Robert Leclair of Wrentham, under our quaint old state constitution, which gives every citizen the right to petition the legislature. Legislators routinely file these bills regardless of whether they support them - it's a pretty simple provision: A constituent asks you to file a bill, you file it.

The right to seek redress, however, doesn't carry the right to actually have your proposal become law. In fact, if you look at the short legislative history of the bill, it was quickly referred to a committee, where it will die, which is the same thing that happened when Leclair, former president of a fathers' rights group, submitted the same bill in 2011.

H/t Lance Harris, who was apparently the only person in the world this weekend to actually look at the bill, let alone note there are 903 other such citizen petitions before the legislature this session.



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    So "Boston.com" writer posts

    So "Boston.com" writer posts the link to the page which clearly states it was a bill filed on behalf of a constituent and fails to report that part correctly? There's only like 3 sentences on that page...

    So what

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    Any mature legislator would have the good sense to say no.

    Doesn't work that way in Massachusetts

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    They have to file the bills. Doesn't mean they have to support them or do anything other than watch them drown in a committee, though. It would be interesting to see how news of this bill spread - somebody had to have dug it up out of the database it was quietly sitting in.

    men controlling women's sex

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    It's a hell of a thing, court-regulated coitus for adults going through a divorce. This is an idea sponsored by a man affiliated with a fathers' rights group. Since when is it a father's right to control when his soon-to-be ex-wife has coitus?

    Massachusetts law allows legislators to put forth a citizen’s piece of legislation, as [Sen Richard] Ross did in this case, though there is no requirement that they do so.

    I find the bill kind disgusting. It tries to give a divorced man control over his ex-wife's sex life. Senate minority whip Richard Ross should be embarrassed.

    weird that you assume the woman stays in the home

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    "It tries to give a divorced man control over his ex-wife's sex life."

    Given the bill isn't gender specific, please do go on about this.

    Maybe it has something to do with women always being the ones who get to stay in the house, hmm?

    Wah, wah, poor downtrodden men

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    Whatever the reasons, yes, you're right, it's typically the woman who stays in the custodial house. So this is a bill that, if ever enacted, which fortunately it won't be, since we live in a state of mostly sane people, would hit women particularly hard.

    If Leclair really cared about the children and if he sincerely believed the idea of sex would harm them irreparably, instead of just trying to lash out at somebody who done him wrong, he would have written a bill that would ban parents in divorce cases from having sex in the same abode as their kids, period. Because kids do stay over with their fathers in many cases. Of course, I'm sure you'll tell me that men on their own would never have sex with their children in the next room, because, unlike those harridan homewrecking sluts, men are perfect angels at all times.

    I'm assuming this was as a

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    I'm assuming this was as a result of a New York divorce case where the judge found (last week, I believe) in the ex husbands favor due to the wife's claiming she had not seen any men since their seperation..got an abortion.... which proved her wrong....

    I'm not going into the details because it's just plain gross, but the husband won, wife lost custody and any financial support. This was because she claimed she hadn't seen any men, nor invited any into her home while the children were present, but was proved wrong by her medical records.

    Maybe that's what prompted someone to go ahead with this bill. I wasn't aware of a father's or men's rights group, but it sounds like something they'd be interested in.

    Just my two cents.

    Not that recent an "idea"

    Note that the youtube interview goes back a couple of years - well before that NY decision. This LeClair buffoon has been trying to get this nifty bit of government intrusion going for some time.

    It isn't a crime to have sex, even if your kids are home, even if you aren't married. You would have a hard time making a case that it mattered much at all, provided that the adults conducted themselves with appropriate discretion. I'd hope that there were other factors in the NY case that contributed to lost custody (such as lying about other important things). Also note that, under this law, if the non "marital home" half of the equation has kids in the home and has sex, under this law they aren't in any trouble (as Adam also noted). That's at the very least some very poor legislative drafting ... but, if you listen to the interview, LeClair resists all attempts to own up to the consequences of his folly.

    Also make no mistake that "father's rights" groups almost invariably exist to find ways to punish and harass the women in their lives - like my niece's violently mentally ill ex who suddenly filed a whole bunch of bullshit that extended the divorce process and cost a great deal of legal funds (he threw such a tantrum in court that the judge stripped his rights for good, finally!). It is about using the children to extend abuse and control beyond the end of a marriage, particularly when the woman ends it after abusive and controlling behavior becomes too much.


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    A friend of mine worked in the State House and had access to all these silly little bills. The best one he shared with me was a citizen-submitted bill that was not even a full sentence. It was something like, "Ban X. Because bad stuff."

    Sadly not uncommon

    No idea if it was the same bill, but I also saw one like that. I think the object of the proposed ban was a certain brand of cheap malt liquor or something like that. I remember thinking someone either had a rough night or had to clean someone up after one.

    Russia Today, one of the

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    Russia Today, one of the Kremlin's National propaganda outlets picked it up. It has been used to demonstrate US hypocrisy and stupidity. The good Senator has not served the US well. Another home run for Putin.

    This article is crazy, Adam.

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    Legislators sure as heck don't "have to file the bills." Can you think of what a mess things would be if that were the case?

    What, me wrong?

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    OK, based on the link Brian found, seems like no, legislators don't have to actually file bills they get from constituents, so I stand corrected. But also note Ross is quoted in that link as saying he doesn't support the bill, just that he filed it as a courtesy to a constituent, which is something legislators do all the time - they file bills that then never actually go anywhere.

    I'd rather

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    a part-time legislature that didn't waste time doing foolish things like this. Yes, they should support their constituents, all of their constituents, not one individual.

    This is Massachusetts. A full

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    This is Massachusetts. A full time legislature is required to write foolish legislation and find new and creative ways of making us all pay for it.

    Well if that's the case....

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    Then I would like to sponsor a bill that makes it illegal for happily married (as happy as you can be) couples who are not seeking divorce, to deny sex
    whenever one or both spouses request it.

    In whatever position the requestee um er...requests.

    In whatever room they request.

    Then whomever does the requesting should be allowed to watch TV, drink beer and have peace and quiet for at least one hour afterwards.

    Who do I call for this?


    Your legislator

    Seriously. It doesn't even have to be well-written. Copy and paste this post and your legislator will file it just as this crazy man's legislator did. For better or for worse, that's how it works in MA.

    I will say that MA has one of the most onerous processes for Citizens Petitions in the country. IMO, this courtesy extended by legislators is one reason that process hasn't been challenged. I'd rather crazy people slip their legislator a crazy bill so it can be safely buried in committee with little to no fanfare than have them out grandstanding and getting signatures for it and forcing it to a vote in convention.

    My 2 cents

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    Slight off topic but also sort of not (as it's regarding the content of the bill and not the bill itself and the submission therein) when my parents divorced 30+ years ago, my mother had made sure to include either in the divorce decree or the child custody paperwork (I'm not sure which it was or where it would make more sense for it to be mentioned... I assume the separation agreement?) that there was to be no hanky panky in the house if the kids are home. Dates were not to be brought around, etc. I didn't meet my step dad until my mother had been with him quite awhile and the next moves were inevitable.
    So, I guess what I'm saying is-- a bill isn't really necessary. Have it written up in your paperwork. Not all separating couples are as disfunctional as others.

    Don't Do It!

    Legislators are supposed to file requested bills (often after editing them into something that resembles passable law), unless there is a very solid reason not to. However, they have the right, which they often exercise, to recommend to the related committee that the proposed bill ought not to pass. That's poison.

    Not true as Adam discussed above

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    Your assertion is incorrect. The legislators are NOT required to submit any bill. They elect to do so on their own. Considering that many don't even bother to read the bills they are voting on, it is perhaps not surprising that he sponsored this citizen petition without second thought. The rules regarding citizen petitions can be found here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/trs/trslaw/lawidx3.htm

    So by this logic...

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    Could I petition that Robert Leclair compensate each citizen of Massachusetts $1 every time he files one of these ridiculous petitions?

    The only reason this was dug

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    The only reason this was dug up is to distract people from the conviction and ouster of the Dem rep. for A&B on a woman. Gotta keep the #waronwomen narrative going.

    It must be tough being so downtrodden and white and all

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    Henriquez is gone and well, not buried, but behind bars. This bill isn't distracting from his case because there's nobody left to distract - he's last week's news.

    I will grant you that this sounds a lot like some Democratic operation that continues to dig up the goofy laws that Republicans keep proposing (ever notice how all the articles about wacky Republicans and their wacky bills are about obscure backbenchers you've never heard of?). Hey, let them hang themselves with their own rope and all, but this case is a bit unfortunate because Ross didn't propose this and he wasn't supporting it - and Leclair isn't even an elected official anymore ; he didn't run for reelection a couple years back.

    I'm noticing a new theme:

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    I'm noticing a new theme: "downtrodden" and "white" when used in the same sentence, must be used sarcastically.
    Interesting, I've read it a couple times on just this post and elsewhere.

    Must be the new meme...I'll try to work it in my vocabulary.

    I figured that based on how

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    I figured that based on how long ago the bill was filled and how this was pulled out of the blue to "make" a story.