Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 19, 2006

Historical View of Marriage

"Why marriage? It's a deceptively simple question, with answers as varied as a wedding bouquet. Economics. Politics. Religion. Revenge. Heirs. Survival. And, love. Of course, love. But not until recently, historically speaking. About the only constant with marriage, it seems, is that it's never been constant at all.While the U.S. Senate last week rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the issue is unlikely to go away. And what sometimes gets lost in this stirred-up emotional climate is that the institution of marriage -- its purpose and who can participate -- has always been hotly debated.

"For thousands of years, people have been proclaiming a crisis in marriage and pointing backward to better days," said Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Chicago-based Council on Contemporary Families, and author of "Marriage, a History."" By Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune Link to Article (last visited 6-18-06 NVS)

June 19, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Confucius-DNA Database

"Chinese claiming Confucius for an ancestor can now use a genetic test to prove a direct blood connection to the grandfather of Chinese social mores, a state newspaper said on Friday. The fifth-century BC social philosopher's ideas of filial piety and deference to elders influence Chinese society and politics even today.Now his countrymen can establish a genetic link in a test that will cost more than 1,000 yuan ($125), according to the Shanghai Morning Post. "We would like to help these unconfirmed claimants to test their DNA and to establish a Confucius-DNA database," it quoted Deng Yajun, a DNA expert from Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Science, as saying.How the scientists had obtained a sample of Confucius's DNA was not explained." Reuters, YahooNews, Link to Article (last visited 61806 NVS)

June 19, 2006 in Paternity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Letter to Dad

"Dear Dad, It's amazing how time flies. I'm about the same age now that you were when you stopped coming around. Given all the times you would promise -- but fail -- to show up on a Saturday or Sunday morning, it took me a while to figure out that you weren't coming back. It hurt a lot at first. Nine-year-olds can't grasp why their dads disappear. But the pain, like the memory of your voice, faded over the years. By the time I got to high school, I decided I was better off with one really good parent than with a mixed set." By Duchesne Paul Drew, Star Tribune Link to Article (last visited 6-18-06 NVS)

June 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Still Not Much of a Father"

"Raising two boys to men -- a difficult job. Steering them from totters to taxpayers has been a journey fraught with miscommunication, hurt feelings, fun and lots of love. . . . It's been a joy raising and hanging out with them -- so far. I owe a large part of it to my father, whose name I bear. And it's sad and too bad he doesn't even know it. Oh, he's not lost or dead. He's still hanging around our hometown of Louisville, Ky. He's grayer and not as spry. But he's still nice-looking. He's still a charmer. And he's still not much of a father."By Milford Reid, Star Tribune Link to Article (lasta visited 6-18-06 NVS)

June 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Foregiving Fathers

"When I call Daddy on Father's Day, it will not be collect, despite a wry suggestion from an announcer at church that some fathers deserve at least that. I will call with the pure and nonjudgmental feeling I get when I speak with him during the holidays or on his birthday. It is not the naive idolatry of a boy whose father was not so much a superhero as a larger-than-life enabler of fancies and dreams. No, this feeling is one of understanding, empathy and even forgiveness. It is similar to the grace that overwhelmed me nine years ago in the hours after the birth of my first daughter, his grandchild. As we talked on the phone, our voices wrinkling with joy, our spirits magically lightened, I began to cry. I thanked him for every good thing (and there are many), every difficult thing (ditto) and everything in between. I could see things through his eyes in ways that I never could before. The tensions that we had built up over the years began to fall away, cracking like ice. And I felt a commitment to persevere for my family, to never get weary."By Tohan Preston, Star Tribune Link to Article (last visited 6-18-06 NVS)

June 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Life Without Dad

"I grew up in a single-parent family, on welfare, in the projects. So I guess I shouldn't be an editor at a big-city newspaper, or have two college degrees. I am. I do. I should be mad at my dad, mad at the world for putting me in such straits. I'm not. I should be a bad father with kids all over town. Nope. Only two, and they bear my name.But the pain of poverty and an absent father shaped me. My father left when I was 6. Months later our apartment building burned down, and we lost everything. Charity met our physical needs. We never had much money even when my father was with us, but the secondhand bikes he bought us were more important than anything given to us by others. Yet it was not the abject poverty that I minded so much as not having him around to teach me: How to relate to girls and men. When to fight and when to give in. How to be a dad." By Gregory A. Patterson, Star Tribune Link to Article (last visited 6-18-06 NVS)

June 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Case Law Development: Domestic Battery is not a Crime of Violence under Immigration Law Requiring Deportation

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an individual convicted of battery upon a cohabitant has not committed a "crime of violence" within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a) and thus is not ineligible for cancellation of removal.  The court noted that battery is not per se a crime of violence because it can involve mere offensive touching.  Because the only evidence regarding the crime itself in this case was the charging document and the individual's nolo plea, the court did not consider whether it could look to the circumstances of the individual crime itself to determine whether it was in fact one involving violence.

Ortega-Mendez v. Gonzales, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 14689 (June 15, 2006) bgf

June 18, 2006 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legislative Development: Louisiana Governor Signs Abortion Ban Legislation

As expected, Louisiana Governor. Kathleen Blanco signed into law a ban on most abortions. The ban applies to all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, except when the mother's life is threatened. However, the law would only take effect if the United States Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade is overturned. Source.  Reuters, For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Missouri Allows Victims of Alleged Sexual Abuse to Continue with Legal Actions under Certain Conditions

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled June 13 en banc that the statute of limitations begins to run in a case involving allegations of sexual abuse when the damage resulting from the alleged abuse was sustained and capable of ascertainment. It held that Missouri law specifically requires that, for a claim to accrue, that there must be a wrongful act, damages must result from that act, and those damages must be "capable of ascertainment." It said that to hold that the statute of limitations begins to run at the time of the wrong would render meaningless the additional language in state law that the wrong "is capable of ascertainment." If damages are not capable of ascertainment at either the time of the wrong or the time of discovery of the wrong and resulting damages, the statute of limitations begins to run when the evidence would place a reasonably prudent person on notice of a potentially actionable injury. This is an objective test of when the damages would be substantially complete.

The ruling arose from a claim by the plaintiff that he remembered being molested until approximately age 17 but then repressed his memories. It was not until February 2000, when he was 41 years old, that the alleged victim was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In the course of treatment for that condition, he alleges he regained previously repressed memories of  sexual abuse.  The case was remanded with instructions to the trial court to apply the newly announced objective standard. The slip opinion of the Missouri Supreme Court in Powel v. Chaminade College Preparatory, Inc., et. al, filed June 13, may be found by clicking here (last visited June 17, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christian Think Tank Group Says Marriage Should be Replaced with Range of Civil Partnerships

According to a report from the BBC, the Christian group Ekklesia has taken the position that there should be a separation of the role of the Church and State in weddings.  Under its proposals, couples would specify the kind of legal commitment they wanted to make to each other. The proposal was made in response to the fact that 40 percent or more of present marriages end in divorce.  Source.  BBC News, For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary: Colorado Court of Appeals makes “Ridiculous Ruling on Young Teen Marriage”

Regular readers of this Blog may enjoy an editorial in the Denver Post that asserts that the recent ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that a 15-year-old girl is old enough to be the common-law wife of a man twice her age is “ridiculous.”  The editorial also asserts that it is “ludicrous to suggest that lawmakers would set 16 as the minimum age for statutory marriage but meant to allow 12-year-old common-law brides."  [Note the analysis of this case in this Saturday’s Blog.]  Source.  Editorial, To read the editorial in the Denver Post, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Episcopal Bishops May Support Same-Sex Marriage

The Episcopal bishops at the Episcopal General Convention in Columbus, Ohio have apparently backed same-sex marriage in a resolution they narrowly adopted late Friday. The Resolution reaffirms their historic support of homosexuals as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; calls on local, state and national legislators to approve measures giving homosexuals certain protections and benefits, and - in its final resolve - opposes "any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions."  Source. Auburn Traycik, For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church Oppose Arizona Constitutional Amendment that would Ban Gay Marriage

Churches at the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church went on record this week as opposing a proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution that would ban gay marriage. In a resolution passed during the conference's annual meeting in Scottsdale, church leaders said that marriages are being threatened by forces such as infidelity, violence, addictions, lack of communication and commitment, and "not how marriage is defined." Source.  Stephanie Innes, For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Divorce Rates at New High in UK

According to the most recent statistical reports, divorce rates in the UK have hit a new peak of 167,116 in a year. Furthermore, older couples are now more likely to divorce according to the Office for National Statistics.  The 2004 figures are up nine per cent on 2000. Source. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Hampshire Man Accused of Threatening Family Court Judge

A New Hampshire man who was upset over rulings by Family Court Judge Peter Hurd allegedly wrote letters to the judge and a note that said if Hurd did not confess to unspecified offenses, “he would be shot in the head.”  The letter writer is charged with a federal mail threat crime.  Source. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).

June 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)