Butterfly Cauldron

Friday, August 04, 2006

This is going to end up before the Supreme Court before it's all over

If not this particular case, then one similar. That's the problem with having different marriage/civil union laws across the country. Those states that have outlawed them are going to say they don't have to recognize another state's union/marriage. Which is bullshit, because any straight couple married pretty much anywhere else, not just in another state, is recognized in this country -- provided they've got documentation. I mean, we don't go around telling Canadians they're not married when they come for a visit. Or the Brits. Or Africans. Or...well, anyone. So long as they're straight. Bastards. Although -- this current ruling is a hopeful sign. Until the appeal is filed anyway.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that Vermont courts, and not those in Virginia, have exclusive jurisdiction over a case involving two women battling for custody of a child they had while they were in a lesbian relationship.

The unanimous ruling conflicts with a series of decisions in Virginia, where courts ruled the state’s anti-gay marriage laws controlled the case.

Justice John Dooley wrote that Vermont civil union laws govern the women’s 2003 separation and subsequent child custody disagreement because they were legally joined in a civil union there in 2000.

“This is a straightforward interstate jurisdictional dispute over custody, and the governing law fully supports the Vermont court’s decision to exercise jurisdiction and refuse to follow the conflicting Virginia visitation order,” Dooley wrote.


The bullshit Virginia is trying to pull gives lie to the "think about the children" line these guys always use. Yes, let's think about the children. How about this little girl who has known both her mommies all her life. How much good is it going to do her to cut one of them out of her life? For no reason? There's nothing here to indicate that the woman is abusive or neglectful or in any way not a fit mother. The problem is she's a mommy and oops, baby's already got one of those. Sorry. Thanks for playing.

“It’s a classic conflict between two states over same-sex unions,” said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Lisa Miller-Jenkins, one of the women in the dispute. “The real question there is whether or not a state can have its own policy that does not accept same-sex unions or whether they have to accept the union of another state.”

And that's why it's going to end up before the Supremes. Because yeah, I think you do have to recognize other state's unions. It's legal in this state to get married at 16. So, if a 16 year old gets married here and then moves to somewhere where you've got to be 18 to be married, are they automatically single again? No. Because states recognize each other's straight unions. This has caused problems in the past, as in cases where 14 year olds ran off to Georgia to get married, against their parents wishes. It was a big deal in the news not that long ago and ended up with Georgia changing it's laws? Why? Because, historically, states recognize each other's marriages.

How hard is that, really? Of course, that doesn't mean the zealots are going to rule that way. Who cares that there are decades, maybe centuries, of precidents. Toss those out when they aren't convienent and say you're following the rule of law. Bah.

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posted by Zan at 6:02 PM

4 Comments:

there are only a handful of international unions that are not recognized across borders, but within the country you are absolutely right. marriage laws are defined state to state, but they are recognized as valid because they are all part of the US. in fact, the only thing i can think of that is not recognized is mormon polygamy, but i believe polygamy is technically illegal in utah even though it's still practiced by some fundamental mormons.

9:38 AM  

Right, so by refusing to recognize another state's same-sex unions, the states are creating a secondary class of, if not citizens, then of marriage unions. Which is discriminatory on its face, which is a pretty solid line of reasoning in appeal.

This thing is creating such a tangle, it's not funny. Because what's going to happen is its going to go before the Supreme Court one of these days and there's going to be a ruling. If it goes in favor of all state recognition, you're going to get lots of anti-gay-marriage people screaming about activist judges and usurping state's rights. If it goes against SS-marriage, then you'll have states with the right to refuse to recognize any marriage performed in any other state. Which means all sorts of things could happen. Like, I'm a pagan. So if I marry a Christian and we move to Mississippi, the court in Mississippi could decide we never had a valid marriage because in Mississippi Pagans and Christians can't marry...which means I don't have the right to my husband's retirement bennies or his health insurance or his social security or any other things that being legally married would give me the right to. Hell, if we have kids, since we're not legally married, the state could decide he doesn't have any legal rights to his children. It could get reallly fucked up. So, the only logical ruling would be that yes, states have to recognize each other's marriages. But is that going to happen? Who knows?

9:47 AM  

well, i know that your scenario is exactly the situation in israel, where a marriage between any israeli jew and a palestinian is not recognized by the state of israel. israel claims security risks associated with interfaith marriages, even if the palestinian converts to judaism. so in the few cases i have heard of, the jewish spouse can live in israel proper, but the palestinian spouse can only live in the west bank or gaza strip. of course, israeli society is very fractured and fucked up in general, but this is the kind of thing that just doesn't make sense on any level in any rational, supposedly secular democracy

5:45 PM  

I didn't know that about Israel, but I'm not terrible surprised. That's what happens when you let religion, of any kind, dictate the law. There isn't a religion around, not even mine I'm sad to say, which doesn't have it's strain of True Believers who want to either impose their views on others or use the law to punish those who have historically discriminated against them. It's sad and it's pathetic and it's the reason I want to scream everytime I hear someone say the U.S. is a Christian country. If it was a truely Christian nations, these things wouldn't even be issues because Jesus wouldn't have stood for a fraction of the shit people are doing in his name.

8:18 AM  

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