Saturday, October 13, 2007

California Governor Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a gay marriage bill Friday, saying voters and the state Supreme Court, not lawmakers, should decide the issue. According to the New York Times, "The Republican governor turned down a measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno that would have defined marriage as a union between two people, not just a man and a woman. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill from Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, in 2005 and has said he would veto all such bills. The California Supreme Court is likely to rule next year on whether the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage violates the constitution. Schwarzenegger said in his veto message that Californians ''should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.'' He said he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage."

Read the NYT Article (last visited October 12, 2007 bgf)

October 13, 2007 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Yale Law Journal Pocket Part

We've been asked by  The Yale Law Journal Pocket Part to extend and invitation to our readers to submit commentaries for two end-of-year issues: one issue will focus on new developments in state courts and the other will focus on new developments in state legislatures. Here is their call for papers:

Our goal is to bring critical focus to an area of lawmaking that deserves greater attention in the legal literature, and we invite you to submit a commentary on a state law topic of your choosing. Commentaries may explore a legal development at the state level that has not been extensively reviewed in legal scholarship and the popular press, or present a novel argument on a timely issue that has received attention. Submissions should be no more than 1,500 words. We encourage authors to write in a style accessible to policy-makers and practitioners. For a detailed style guide and instructions for submitting your piece, please visit our website,, and follow the link for "Submissions."

The deadline for submissions for both issues is Friday, November 2, 2007

October 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Case Law Development: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Finds Domestic Violence Police Response Case Admissible

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the case of Jessica Gonzales v. United States has declared Jessica Lenahan's (formerly Gonzales) case admissible. In Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the United States Supreme Court held that Jessica did not have a property interest in prompt police response to enforce the provisions of her domestic violence restraining order.  The court thus reversed the 10th circuit's decision finding a constitutional violation when the police ignored repeated calls from Jessica that her estranged husband had violated a protective order and taken her children. 

Ms. Lenahan (Gonzales) has since then pursued this action before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  The Commission's recent decision says that Ms. Lenahan (Gonzales) exhausted all domestic remedies and indicates that countries in the Americas, including the United States, are responsible under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man for protecting victims of domestic violence from private acts of violence. This is the first time that the Commission has ever made such a pronouncement.

In the merits phase of this process, the  Commission will decide whether the US and the Castle Rock Police Department/Colorado violated Ms. Lenahan (Gonzales') and her children's human rights.  Ms. Lenahan (Gonzales) has alleged that the United States has violated her rights to life, non-discrimination, family life/unity, due process, petition the government, and the rights of domestic violence victims and their children to special protections.
The Commission's admissibility decision is available online at the Commission's website;  Columbia Law Schools Human Rights website, or the ACLU website.

Ms. Gonzales' testimony before the Inter-American Commission in March 2007, can be viewed at the Organization of American State's website

(Last visited October 10, 2007 bgf)

October 10, 2007 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bad Marriage, Bad for Health

A lousy marriage might literally make you sick. Marital strife and other bad personal relationships can raise your risk for heart disease, researchers reported Monday.

What it likely boils down to is stress -- a well-known contributor to health problems, as well as a potential byproduct of troubled relationships, the scientists said.

In a study of 9,011 British civil servants, most of them married, those with the worst close relationships were 34 percent more likely to have heart attacks or other heart trouble during 12 years of follow-up than those with good relationships. That included partners, close relatives and friends.

The study, in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, follows previous research that has linked health problems with being single and having few close relationships. In the new study, researchers focused more on the quality of marriage and other important relationships.

''What we add here is that, 'OK, being married is in general good, but be careful about the kind of person you have married.' The quality of the relationship matters,'' said lead author Roberto De Vogli, a researcher with University College in London.

AP, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 10-9-07 NVS)

October 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-sex Couple Seeks Divorce in Rhode Island

"A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts should have the same right as heterosexual couples to divorce in their home state of Rhode Island, lawyers for the women told the state's highest court Tuesday.

Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers were married in 2004 after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. Last year, the couple filed for divorce in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island law is silent on the legality of same-sex marriages.

If the women can't divorce in Rhode Island, their lawyers said the only legal avenue available to them would be for at least one to move to Massachusetts and live there long enough to obtain a divorce.

''It is an absolutely unfair burden,'' Ormiston said outside Rhode Island's Supreme Court. ''It is a burden no one else is asked to bear, and it is something I will not do.''

Lawyers for the women told the Supreme Court the only question to consider was whether Rhode Island could recognize a valid same-sex marriage from another state for the sole purpose of granting a divorce petition." AP, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 10-9-07 NVS)

October 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)