Maryland’s Senate rejected a bill that would have linked civil and Jewish religious divorces. The bill failed in its third and final Friday in a tie vote, 22-22. The bill would have empowered a party in a divorce to require the other party to sign an affidavit declaring that all obstacles to remarriage had been removed. That would have had the effect of forcing recalcitrant husbands to grant their wives a “get,” or Jewish divorce. Some husbands continue to refuse to grant a “get” – even if they’ve remarried – as a means of extracting money or custody rights. The imbalance arises because children born to Jewish women out of wedlock are considered outcasts, but not those born to Jewish men. The Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America backed the bill, which is modeled on a New York law.
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