Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Impeachment of AG Over Same Sex Marriage Opinion?

The New York Times is reporting on the attempt of a Maryland state legislator to impeach the state attorney general for issuing an opinion saying that Maryland would recognize same sex marriages validly perfected elsewhere.  Read more here.

Am I the only one depressed by the politicization of this issue?

AC

April 6, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gender Determined at Birth or by Birth Certificate?

The latest news story on the question of whether gender (for marriage purposes) is determined at birth or by what is recorded on the birth certificate:

Danielle Pauline Severson takes female hormones, dresses and acts like a woman and plans to have sex reassignment surgery so she physically looks like a woman.

Yet the pre-operative transgender female, who was born Dana Paul Severson, will have to tie the knot to a woman in California.

After being jilted by officials in Nevada—which bills itself as the wedding capital of the world—Severson and Rebecca Love were granted a marriage license Wednesday by officials in Severson's hometown of Redding, Calif.

While both states prohibit same-sex marriage, officials in California said the two qualified for the license because Severson's birth certificate lists her as a man. But officials in Nevada nixed the request, saying they consider Severson a woman because that's what her driver's license says.

Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, said the circumstances of the case are unique.

But he said transgender people are often caught between conflicting state laws and policies about how to determine a person's gender.

"The same person may be considered legally a male in one state and legally female in another," Minter said. "This is a very painful and confusing situation for trans people."

Shasta County (Calif.) Clerk Cathy Darling said her office issued the marriage license only after consulting with the California Department of Health.

"The state told us to reference the birth certificate," she said. "It's a legal gray area. State law doesn't speak to this."

"There's case law to support that the gender of an individual at birth remains that person's gender regardless of what procedures are taken," he said. "But there's case law to support that at a certain point in this procedure the gender of an individual would change."

Lee Rowland, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, said her group is determined to do away with statewide bans on same-sex marriages.

"Until that day comes, however, we believe it is appropriate for clerks to rely on the gender on a government-issued ID to avoid the risk of invasively investigating someone's gender," she said.

Read more here.

AC

March 15, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Catholic Charities Refuses Health Coverage to Spouses of New Employees

Timed to coincide with today's legalization of same sex marriage in Washington, D.C., the Catholic church is taking a hard line in an effort to remain "faithful to its teachings."

Employees at Catholic Charities were told Monday that the social services organization is changing its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of its workers -- the latest fallout from a bitter debate between District officials trying to legalize same-sex marriage and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

"We looked at all the options and implications," said the charity's president, Edward J. Orzechowski. "This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city's new requirements and remain faithful to the church's teaching."

Catholic Charities, which receives $22 million from the city for social service programs, protested in the run-up to the council's December vote to allow same-sex marriage, saying that it might not be able to continue its contracts with the city, including operating homeless shelters and facilitating city-sponsored adoptions. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes such unions.

Read more here.

AC

March 3, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Community Crucial in D.C. Gay Marriage Debate

Gay and lesbian couples will soon be able to marry in Washington, but the debate over same-sex marriage has sounded different here, with references to interracial marriage and Martin Luther King.

Over the past year, both sides have courted the support of Washington's black community, a majority of the city's 600,000 residents and one traditionally perceived as opposed to same-sex marriage.

"In D.C., outreach to African-Americans wasn't part of the campaign. It was the campaign," said Michael Crawford, the leader of a pro-same-sex union group, D.C. For Marriage.

Crawford, who is black, said other residents weren't ignored, but his group and others weighed the city's racial makeup in planning their message. That made the debate here different than in other places that have considered gay marriage — places like California, where about 7 percent of residents are black, or Maine, where 1 percent are. Voters in both states struck down gay marriage laws.

To speak to voters in D.C., supporters drew parallels to Martin Luther King Jr.'s advocacy for equal rights. They said same-sex marriage bans would one day seem as ridiculous as the interracial marriage bans overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967. Opponents, meanwhile, ran an anti-gay marriage ad on the radio station of Howard University, a historically black college. And both sides worked hard to curry favor with black leaders and churches.

Getting black voters' support for gay marriage wasn't necessarily easy. A widely used exit poll conducted for The Associated Press during the 2008 election found 70 percent of black California voters approved of a measure banning gay marriage, compared with 49 percent of white voters. A poll in Florida, where residents voted on a similar issue that year, had comparable support from black voters, who make up about 16 percent of the state's population.

Black supporters of gay marriage in Washington disputed those numbers and argued that black voters were unfairly blamed for pushing the California measure to success. Opponents have argued the numbers were true and relevant, suggesting that D.C. voters would certainly reject gay marriage if given the opportunity.

But lawmakers, not voters, legalized gay marriage in Washington, and the measure always had the support of black D.C. Council members. Five black members on the 13-member council ultimately supported it, though the only "no" votes came from two black members in heavily black districts.

Read the full Associated Press story here.

AC

March 2, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Academia & Marriage Go Together Like a Horse & Carriage

  2001                                                Married                Single 

American public                              57%                        43%

All faculty members                        76%                        24% (A)

American men                                 59%                       41%

Male faculty members                     82%                        18% (B)

American women                             55%                        45%

Female faculty members                  66%                        34% (C) 

(A) Unmarried living with partner(*): 5% (within Single category) 

(B) Unmarried living with partner 4% 

(C) Unmarried living with partner 7% 

SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU; HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES

See the Faculty Lounge blog post here.

These marriage numbers for academics, however, will likely go through the roof if a dating service is implemented at law conferences…  Read more about this (facetious) suggestion at the TaxProf Blog, accessible here.  

MR

February 20, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

If You Like Pina Coladas and Getting Caught in the Rain…

…oh, never mind, because any woman’s chances for love in China are nearly surefire, where the one-child policy will yield a 24M bride shortage by 2020.

From CNN:

Sex-specific abortions have led to a large male population born since the 1980s, the China Daily newspaper said, citing a study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The gender imbalance means that the next decade will see many intergenerational marriages: young men married to women much older than them, the study said.

China's Communist Party implemented the one-child rule three decades ago, amid fears that the country would not be able to feed a skyrocketing population.  The policy has prevented about 400 million births, China Daily said.

Read the rest here.

MR

February 7, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reform of Royal Marriage Rules on the Horizon?

Rules governing royal marriages and the succession to the throne of the UK breach the European Convention on Human Rights, an influential parliamentary committee has said.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) said that laws barring members of the Royal Family from marrying Roman Catholics were contrary to the Convention, while the rule that male heirs take precedence over older sisters in the succession was "arguably" also a breach.

The cross-party committee of MPs and peers urged the Government to adopt proposals put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris to remove religious discrimination against Catholics in relation to royal marriages, and discrimination against women in relation to the succession.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year indicated sympathy with calls for reform, telling the House of Commons that "most people recognise the need for change" in the regime put in place by the 1701 Act of Settlement.

Read more here.

AC

January 20, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Divorced at 10 Years Old

The BBC reports on a Yemeni child bride who fought for, and miraculously received, a divorce from her 30 year-old husband.

She had not even known she was to be married on the day of her wedding. With her father's consent, she was brought by her future husband to his village where his family laid on a big ceremony. Afterwards, when she saw everyone leaving, she wanted them to drive her back home but was told by her new husband that she was married.

She took advantage of the absence of her father, her mother, her stepmother and her elder brothers to take a bus and a taxi to the court. The judge took her home to his own house and family where she stayed for three days, being treated kindly. He then sent her with an escort to her parents' house. Her parents were not in but one of her sisters passed on the message that she had gone to court for a divorce.

After her father and her new husband came to the court themselves, they were arrested and sentenced to 10 days and 15 days in prison respectively. A few weeks later, the judge granted the divorce. Her husband was led into the court for the ruling but said nothing to her.

Read the full story here.

AC

January 5, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Bill Approved by D.C. Council

The D.C. Council gave final approval Tuesday to a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, setting off a wave of excitement in the gay community even as opponents vow to continue the fight on Capitol Hill. The bill, approved by a vote of 11 to 2, will now go to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who is expected to sign it before Christmas. The bill will become law in the spring if it survives a 30-day legislative review period.

See the Washington Post story here.

AC

December 17, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pouncy: "Marriage and Domestic Partnership: Rationality and Inequality"

Charles R. P. Pouncy (Florida International University College of Law) has posted "Marriage and Domestic Partnership:  Rationality and Inequality," forthcoming in the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The efforts of gay and lesbian communities to regularize their relations resulted in competing claims for same-sex marriageand domestic partnerships. This essay argues that the debate between these two forms of organization is tainted by a reliance on analyses provided by neoclassical economic theory. If the decision about which of these institutions presents the best way to structure the relationships of lesbians and gays is dominated by the notion of economic rationality then marriage seems clearly preferable. However, when the focus is changed from the economic interests of the individual to the health and well being of queer communities domestic partnership emerges as the preferable way of organizing gay and lesbian relationships. Thus, the paper argues that queer communities should invest their resources in the development of domestic partnership as a societal institution. Adopting marriageis more likely to support the male privilege and heterosexism inherent in marriage, and will erode the processes of queer culture.

AC

December 3, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Renewed Attention to Cousin Marriages

The New York Times featured this article last week reviving a frequently recurring discussion of prohibitions on marriages involving first cousins.  The article largely recaps the same old issues, but I found the perspective fresh as it related to religion's take on such marriages.

AC

December 1, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gardina: "The Tipping Point: Legal Epidemics, Constitutional Doctrine, and the Defense of Marriage Act"

Jackie Gardina (Vermont Law School) has posted "The Tipping Point:  Legal Epidemics, Constitutional Doctrine, and the Defense of Marriage Act," 34 Vermont L. Rev. (2009) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Using Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point" as a jumping off point, this brief article discuss whether the Supreme Court has reached a "tipping point" with regards to equal marriage and its benefits. The article suggests that to determine whether the Court has reached the tipping point — and more specifically, whether the constitutional question has reached the Court at the right time — requires that one look beyond the Court’s precedent and examine the “national conversation.” The article traces other significant shifts in constitutional doctrine and suggests that the Court’s other tipping points have paralleled shifts in societal norms. the article ultimately concludes that the time is not right for a Supreme Court review of the Defense of Marriage Act. The “national conversation” about marriage equality is in its infancy when compared to race and gender issues. Equal marriage remains a deeply divisive issue. A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans are still resistant to extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. A vast majority of states either have constitutional amendments or statutes that explicitly define marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Justices are looking for evidence of a societal tipping point through legislative changes, as they did in Lawrence v. Texas and Loving v. Virginia, they will not find it yet.

AC

November 19, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Threats from the Catholic Church on Gay Marriage

The New York Times reports that Washington's Roman Catholic Archdiocese is beginning to make threats on the gay marriage issue.

The fight over a proposed same-sex marriage law here heated up this week as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said that if the law passed, the church would cut its social service programs that help residents with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, which has the mayor’s support and is expected to pass next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform same-sex weddings or make space available for them.

But officials from the archdiocese said they feared the law might require them to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples. As a result, they said, the archdiocese would have to abandon its contracts with the city if the law passed.

The threat is not the first time a religion-based provider of social services has said it would stop providing services in response to a same-sex marriage law, gay rights advocates say.

In 2006, Boston’s archbishop, Sean P. O'Malley, said that Catholic Charities there would stop its adoption-related work rather than comply with a state law requiring that gay men and lesbians be allowed to adopt children.

Read the full article here.

AC

November 13, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NY Senate Vote on Same Sex Marriage Delayed

The New York Times reports that a vote on gay marriage in the New York legislature has been delayed indefinitely.

Republicans and Democrats said that as of Tuesday afternoon, the measure was still several votes short of the 32 necessary for approval. About five Democrats remained either opposed or noncommittal, meaning that Republican votes were needed to secure passage.

But not enough Republicans have committed to voting yes, legislators said. The Democrats have a 32-30 majority in the Senate.

It was unclear when the Senate would take the issue up. Wednesday is Veterans Day, a holiday, meaning that it would be at least the end of the week before the Senate could vote on the bill.

“Our community has spent the past few years making the case to 62 state senators for why we should be treated equally by the laws of our state,” said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. “The time for making cases is over. We’ve heard dozens of excuses, and we’ve been told countless times that we’ll have to wait for equality.”

The bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Thomas K. Duane, could not say whether the bill would come to the floor.

“I am optimistic,” Senator Duane said, adding that he was continuing to discuss the matter with his colleagues. “I will keep you posted.”

Read the full story here.

AC

November 11, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 2, 2009

The best laid plans of mice and men...

A New York church made famous by Irving's headless horseman tales recently refused to perform a couple's desired Halloween wedding ceremony, which included a black dress costume for the bride and theme music from "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters."  The traditional church wedding ceremony has clearly begun to tire some couples, who want to be more creative and fun.  However, perhaps these couples push the envelope in planning their dream weddings?  For coverage of the smashed Halloween wedding plans, see here and here, and see here for interesting blog commentary.  Of course, such energy and creativity might be more useful in maintaining a marriage, especially when the divorce rate flirts with the 50% mark.

MR

November 2, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Study: Childhood Cancer Survivors Less Likely to Marry

A recent study suggests that childhood cancer survivors are 20% to 25% less likely to marry compared with their siblings and the general American population.  It is suspected that some of the lingering effects of radiation—such as issues with thinking and memory, growth and physical functioning—seemed to cause these lower marriage rates among cancer survivors.  Lead researcher Kadan-Lottick stated, “While it can be debated whether marriage is a desirable outcome, marriage is generally an expected developmental goal in our society to the extent that most U.S. adults are married by the age of 30.  Our results suggest that survivors of childhood cancer need ongoing support even as they enter adulthood.”

 

                                                   Wedding                              

 MR

October 28, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License in Louisiana

I thought I had seen it all in family law.  But this one has still managed to shock me.  The New York Times reports:

A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

''I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way,'' Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. ''I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.''

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Read the full story here.

AC

October 16, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

California Legislation Recognizes Some Same Sex Marriages

CNN reports on a California bill quietly signed into law on October 11, 2009:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states while such marriages were legal in California.

California will recognize same-sex marriages from a period of time before Proposition 8 was enacted.

Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere between June 16, 2008, and November 5, 2008, are to be legally recognized, as are in-state marriages performed during that time.

The end date represents when a ballot initiative, Proposition 8, added a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.

Proposition 8 bars the state from recognizing any marriage performed outside the state outside those dates. The state Supreme Court ruled after the proposition passed that marriages performed before the ban would remain on the books.

But Senate Bill 54 splits a legal hair and requires the state to recognize such marriages as "unions," providing "the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state," the governor said.

AC

October 14, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Hampshire Allows Same-Sex Marriage

For an analysis, see Constitutional Law Professor Blog here.

RR

June 3, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Marriage Abolition?

Douglas Kmiec of Pepperdine appeared on the Colbert show advocating a position akin to marriage abolition.  See more on ConLawProf here.

RR

April 19, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)