Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Preview of the Republican Judiciary

In case you thought that the Senate fillibuster didn't matter or in case you think that far right judges will be restrained and respect the views of those who disagree with them, here is a wake up call for you. This story has been around the blogs for a while but I just heard about on NPR this morning.

NPR is reporting that a judge in Washington state has refused to allow a woman to divorce her husband (who is in jail for drug charges and has been convicted of beating the woman) because she is pregnant. The husband did not contest the divorce but the judge interferred because, he argued, the state had an interest in seeing that children are not "illegitimized." Democrats in the Washington state legislature have since passed a law specifically allowing pregnant women to get divorced.

Comments anyone?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Now it's the liberals complaining about "activist judges" and a Democratic body passing a law to overrule a judge. As Bart Simpson would say, "the ironing is delicious."

Seriously, though, what a stupid ruling. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

Yep. My guess is that this judge is not "out of control" by Mr. De Lay's standards.

Also, put this in the context of Marriage Plus legislation going on in the old Confederacy. These are laws where you can get SUPER DUPER married in a way that makes it harder to get divorced.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

The "covenant marriage" laws are awful. Those laws threaten marriage, because they change traditional marriage rules and create two classes of marriage. They devalue the marraiges of most Americans by implying that they are not real or full, like the "higher" marriage. So, conservatives threaten the sanctity of marriages this way.

Gay marriage, by contrast, honors marriage, by saying that all relationships should end in marriage, that marriage is the preferred institution - not one to be ultimately relegated to traditionalist heterosexual couples only, as it is in parts of modern urban Europe. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

Why does any relationship between any two people need the blessing or condemnation of church, society or the state?

If people want to have a ceremony to celebrate their relationship great. If they want that to be a religious ceremony, fine. But remember that the state has no interest at all in the nature of that relationship. It is a matter of individual choice.

In Washington, this woman's problems stem from the state's self appointed right to impose obligations on her to a man because of her status as "wife." What is the state's compelling interest in that?

 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

You have it a bit backwards historically, of course. Marriage was a church institution. In the course of the reformation and struggles over church-state issues, the state simply took over the function of the church in performing and solemnizing marriages.

I would argue that the state does have an interest in: (1) setting and enforcing the duties of parents towards children; (2) providing for children to receive their parents' property upon death; (3) ensuring the economic well being of parties to long-term partners in the event of separation; (4) providing a standard-issue legal framework for a family to function as a single economic unit. True, most of this could be worked out by individuals on an ad hoc contractual basis, but the institution of marriage (although not stable across the millennia) has been the vehicle of doing all these things. Its added continuing value is that it is almost universal in terms of class and race.

None of this requires all the traditional western religious accoutrements or interpretations of marriage, of course. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

But why should the state get to define which kind of relationships get to be institutionally favored and which don't? Paternal and maternal obligations can be made clear and enforced without the institution of marriage. And our legal system already enforces these things regardless of marriage, right?

What worries me about the attitude implied in the off hand comment about urban Europeans (who more frequently live together without ever getting married than do Americans) is the implication that long term relationships without either church or state "blessing" are somehow socially and/or morally inferior.

Again I warn that anyone who claims the power to bless also claims the power to condemn - at least secretly. I would grant neither church nor state such power over me or my life. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

The blessing of society, which in our social organization really means the state, upon one's relationship is something of great value. That is what gays are fighting for, and it's got very little to do with the actual rights attendant upon marriage, despite rhetoric to the contrary. We should be talking about the extension of that blessing, not its abolition.

RbR's viewpoint, with its inherent libertarianism, is not uncommon in America today. But it is one I reject. It advances, I believe, the idea of a society without meaningful rituals. This, I contend, ultimately leaves many people looking to fill a void. The rise in radical religion is correlated with the turning away from older, kinder institutions and rituals. Young people don't know it, when they glom on to culty non-denominational christianity they are actively seeking what all society used to have, but jetissoned: the idea that they can gain acceptance and status as a member of a society, a true feeling of belonging and proper place, through certain rituals. A small educated class may revel in its freedom; but more find themselves alone in an atomized society. The yearning for external support for and recognition for oneself or one's relationship expresses itself in various ways, often poorly. Gang initiations and graduations are examples (albeit different ones) of what ersatz rituals crop up organically when other rituals are left to die. Blasting meaningless rituals is fine, but denying the existence of meaningful ones is incorrect.

Imagine if we took it a step farther, and decided that we not only did not need marriage as an institution, but we could abolish parentage, leaving the duties of a parent up to whatever love provided (or didn't)?
Well, you answer, that question won't arise because parentage is about blood, biological fact. Yes, but is that all we have? How do we transcend blood, yet create a relationship as "real" as that of family? Just saying "we're like family because we say so" is not really enough. Do we really want to live in a society where no relationship ever achieves the status of being officially recognized? But how to extend the indelibility of such family ties to others? Marriage creates that official fiction.

Perhaps the most important part of the marriage ceremony is not the vows of the bride and groom, who no doubt have already made a commitment, but the question to the congregation: Will you support them in this relationship? - to which they are expected to thunder back "We will." And that "WE" should extend to the state as well. The political question is when and how the state should withhold its blessing, but that is entirely different, I think, from whether or not such a blessing should be abolished.

Of course, I'm thinking of such things as I prepare to get married in about 10 weeks. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

As LTG's friend I should point out that his impending marriage is in no way connected with an earlier posting regarding the naming of twins. No shot guns are involved...as far as I know.

In a sense, it is precisely because the approval of the state has value that I am beginning more and more to resent the power of that state to grant it - and by implication withold it.

I must admit, I never really thought of myself as a "libertarian" until Bush came to power. But more and more I find myself becoming a fairly radical libertarian. Nothing makes you love small government more than your total exclusion from it's decisions. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

US West said...

This is a bit late, and perhaps off topic, but this morning NPR reported that a 18 year old woman was barred from attending her graduation ceremony at her Catholic high school because she is pregnant. The father of her fetus, however, was not barred.

This girl, rather than aborting the fetus, is carrying it. And the Catholic school PUNISHES her while the father is not held at all accountable. Misogyny and hypocrisy thrive in today's Church.

The girl attended her graduation, walked on stage, called out her own name and marched off. GOOD FOR HER!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! Good for her! And shame on her school!

I guess God may forgive but the school won't.

"The Inquisition, here we go!
The Inquisition, what a show!
...I bet you're wishin' that we'd go away
But the Inquisition's here and it's here to stay!"
- Mel Brooks.
 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

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