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BETTY WIKOSKI v. CHESTER WIKOSKI (07/31/86)

filed: July 31, 1986.

BETTY WIKOSKI
v.
CHESTER WIKOSKI, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Wyoming County, Civil Division, at No. 33 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Michael R. Lynn, Bloomsburg, for appellant.

John J. Hovan, Tunkhannock, for appellee.

Brosky, Popovich and Roberts, JJ. Popovich, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Brosky

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 409]

This appeal is from a divorce decree. Appellant contends

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 410]

    that the Divorce Code provision allowing no-fault divorce*fn1 violates his freedom of religion under the Pennsylvania Constitution.*fn2 We disagree, and accordingly, affirm.

Appellant contends that the grant of a divorce infringes on his religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic, in that that faith opposes divorce. His devotion to his faith is quite apparent. Such an infringement, he argues, works a violation of his rights under Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. That Section states:

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; No man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; No human authority can, in any case, whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

The provision at issue is that providing for freedom of "the rights of conscience."

There is no case on point in this Commonwealth. As a consequence, before turning to the cases interpreting our State Constitution, it will be useful to consider cases in other jurisdictions treating similar issues and the precise issue before us.*fn3

Three United States Supreme Court cases are worth noting. First, in Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 8 S.Ct. 723, 31 L.Ed. 654 (1888), the high court held that marriage was a social relationship governed by the laws of the individual states under their police powers. Second, in ...


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