Sunday, September 4, 2011

Female Anti-Misandry Legislator: Gladys Stewart - 1937

FULL TEXT: Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri’s lone woman legislator has offered a bill for the “relief of alimony-ridden” men, or those in danger of being classed in that state.

Mrs. Gladys B. Stewart, Republican member from Douglas-co and a former assistant district attorney, has sponsored a measure which she believes will tend to curb “alimony grabbing tendencies” of some members of her sex.

If enacted, Mrs. Stewart’s bill would prohibit the granting of alimony unless the marriage had existed more than five years, unless children of the divorced couple are living, or unless the wife has become physically disabled since her marriage.

Under the present Missouri divorce laws, trial judges may allow alimony with few restrictions.


Mrs. Stewart believes her proposal would reduce the number of divorces and make wives think twice before rushing to an attorney to file divorce proceedings.

“I feel that something should be done to discourage divorces,” she said, “and I know of nothing which would tend to slow down marriage dissolutions so much as curtailment of alimony.

Opponents of the bill, however insist her proposal would have the opposite effect on freedom-seeking husbands. Men who have been married less than five years and have no children would take ad vantage of the law to sever marital bonds, knowing they would be free from paying alimony, according to male adversaries of the measure.

Many lawyer members of the legislature are outspoken in their attempts to defeat the bill.


Legislators believe the bill may have some chance to pass the house, but doubt that it will survive the lawyer-controlled senate.

Mrs. Stewart, holding no chivalrous ideas of male deference for any of her bills, thinks, however the men at least should be grateful that a woman member sponsored a bill “definitely drawn for the relief of men.”

“At least they can’t say that a women are interested in seeking alimony,” she said, “and I thin the men should be grateful that woman saw fit to sponsor such a bill.”

Mrs. Stewart, mother of one son, served as a special circuit judge and is the only woman Missouri to sit on the bench. She is the only woman member of the State Council.

[James E. Helbert, “Bill Designed To Protect Men In Missouri Causes Furor Lone Female Legislator Payment Banned Unless Couple Had Been Married Five Years,” syndicated (UP), The Lima News (Oh.), Mar. 18, 1937, p. 10]

[Photo source: “Woman Legislator,” Jefferson City Post-Tribune (Mo.), Jan. 8, 1937, p. 4]


For more revelations of this suppressed history, see The Alimony Racket: Checklist of Posts


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