Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yes, There IS Other News . . .

For the record, I'm as torn up about the Katrina and New Orleans as anyone . . . I think. And I'm not thrilled by either the federal response or the state/local failure to prepare. Obviously, a lot of people royally screwed up on many levels. If I had any money, I'd contribute to the relief effort; when I do, I probably will. That, I fear, is all I have to say on the matter.

Meanwhile, other things continue to happen in the world.

I'm a little surprised that this [www.latimes.com] isn't bigger news than it seems to be. I'm actually surprised that I couldn't google more articles (or better ones) on the matter.

A common conservative complaint regarding issues of gay rights is that all recent advances have been made at the judicial level. Here we have a democratically elected body--the California legislature--taking a historic step.

Now the matter will go Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Funny thing is, Schwarzenegger supports gay marriage (he IS an actor . . . of sorts); but has said he may veto the bill because he believes the matter should be decided by the citizens or by state courts.

Here's my question: How does Schwarzenegger's suggestion that this issue belongs in the courts jive with his party's hostility to judicial activism and insistence that this issue be solved democratically? And if allowing the elected legislators to decide this issue isn't democratic enough, should all civil law--not just marriage, gay or otherwise; but speed limits, land use, business regulation--be subject to referendum or initiative? What interests me is the question of what channel is appropriate for creating law on the matter if a republican defers the matter to a body--the courts--where the rest of his party doesn't want to see it solved, i.e., what does it mean to effect change democratically?

3 Comments:

Blogger TD said...

I have a hard time coming up with logical, non-emotional statements on this topic, but I'm going to make my best effort.

My moms are gay. They have been in a committed relationship for well over a decade. They built a beautiful home together. They have the love and support of my relatively open-minded family and their wonderful group of friends. But because they can't get married, they have had to go to great lengths to secure their own and their children’s future through power of attorney, financial planning, wills, etc. They have to think about things heterosexual couples don't. And I in turn have to think about things, too. If Todd and I have a child and something happened to us, we'd want my parents to raise him/her. There's a good chance his very conservative family would fight that, and because the moms are gay, they'd probably have a shot at getting custody. It goes on and on.

He's going to veto. And Massachusetts may well amend their constitution in 2008 and undo the good that has been done there. Progress comes slowly – and setbacks are inevitable – when morality and politics intersect.

9:24 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Let politicians and columnists try to be logical, rational, unemotional. I appreciate your anecdote, and the candor with which you present it.

A lot of social conservatives argue that gay couples can get all the benefits of marriage by applying for power of attorney, drawing up living wills, etc. The thing is, all of this can be accomplished in one fell swoop and for about $100 by obtaining a marriage license, while pursuing these benefits through other channels can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. And a judge can STILL grant custody based on a subjective moral judgement regarding sexual orientation in cases like the one you posit.

I'd say you and Todd should get your intention in WRITING as soon as possible, and make your wishes legally binding. His conservative family CAN'T get custody if you've already expressed otherwise in a will, not without bending the law to the breaking point.

I suppose Arnold will have to decide whether he's more loyal to his state or his party. Recent republican action seems to indicate that most of the party rank and file bow to conservative authority. Sad.

Finally . . . Thanks for the response. It was getting lonely in here.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

Hey Hound Dog!

I've been staying off of the computer as much as possible because it exaserbates (is that even close to being spelled right?) my back. Had a great time catching up with your posts today.

:)

11:26 AM  

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