Saturday, May 17, 2008


Now and again, a good thing happens. Even less often, a multi-level good thing happens. Yesterday was such a day.

The California Supreme Court in their occasional wisdom handed down a lovely decision with wonderfully subversive implications, legalizing same-sex marriage in that state as analyzed through the anti-miscegenation precedent under the California State Constitution.

This is, of course, where the evil grin begins and just keeps on going. In the first pass, if left undisturbed, this decision strongly supports the notion of "equality before the law", a notion that is near and dear to my heart. That, however, is mainly a personal philosophical preference. It gets better.

California has a substantial budget deficit. California has no residency requirement for marriages. Can you say *huge* marriage tourism revenues? Even during Newsome's brief marriage adventure in San Francisco, there was some pretty impressive travel going on. And that was only on the *hope* of lawful marriage - I'm thinking folks in the travel and hospitality industries are doing a major happy dance about now.

A benefit about which I have distinctly mixed feelings, California already had an initiative already submitted with over 1.1 million signatures (currently under review, threshold is 700k or so signatures) to modify their constitution to limit marriage to male/female unions. The same voters that'd support this tripe, however regrettably, are also likely anti-Clobama (that second part is a win) and likely to vote for McCain. Don't know if it's enough to put California in play, but...

Continuing on, the decision kicks over Pandora's box rather tidily. It's too big to ignore, and without any residency limits on it...anyone can fly in and marry, return home, and file suit when their home state fails to recognize their lawfully performed marriage under Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution (the Full Faith & Credit Clause) and Loving v. Virginia (the end of anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S.) which, in turn may have intriguing effects on state DOMA acts.

I'm intrigued by how "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will interact with a service member with a same-sex spouse. I'm interested in how, if that service member loses his/her life while in the service, how survivors benefits for the same-sex spouse and their children (adopted, preceding marriages, etc) would play out...

Moving on to immigration, let us assume I fly to Germany or Thailand, meet the man of my dreams...and he and I fly to California and marry. How does that affect his immigration status?

The box is open, and a lovely box it is. Will we see continuing efforts to shore up bigotry? Or are we, as a nation, ready to admit that unions between competent and consenting adults should be treated equally before the law?

Time will tell.

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