Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

End Around

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on the topic of the Pope speaking out againt evil and immorality and sodomy and gays and cohabiting couples. I was basically pointing out that the Pontificating Pontiff really highlights a problem for many Catholics (as well as Christians of any denomination); where does religion and politics separate, and how literally do you interpret Catholic morality in application to laws and politics? Because obviously, if you're going to argue about gays on the grounds that they are Hell-bound sinners, then you've also got to address cohabiting couples and possibly support certain cases of vigilante-ism as well.

Looks like I was ahead of my time.

Apparently some very clever lawyers in Ohio are sticking the new amendment that barrs gay marriage up the asses of the legistators that wrote it. Their claim is a damn clever one that argues that as the amendment prohibits treating anything that's not marriage (gay union, cohabitation) as marriage, then battered unmarried cohabitants lose their exisiting protection under the law to be treated as battered spouses.

The current abuse law in Ohio is a good one actually, as a battered girlfriend or boyfriend gets treated as a battered spouse, gaining automatic police protection and a restraining order, if I am to understand it correctly. The argument that the law student that filed the claim makes is that since the amendment prohibits "recognizing a legal status of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design of . . . marriage", then either the current abuse statutes must be amended to exclude unmarried cohabitants (which may make up 1/4 of the abuse cases in the state) or the amendment must be overturned.

As I doubt the anti-gay marriage proponents would sacrifice civil rights for heterosexual abuse vicitims at their altar of homophobia, this puts them in quite a quandary. If the state recognizes cohabiting couples as "married" under the abuse laws, then it becomes a whole lot more difficult to prohibit marriage-like civil unions or outright marriages between gays.

I do have a problem with this though. As a result of this motion being filed, defense lawyers for abusers can file motion to dismiss charges on grounds of unconstitutionality and are apparently doing so already. There is a pretty big difference between charging someone with domestic battery and simple assault, and this issue, while it's being decided, is potentially going to screw over a lot of abused individuals and might put some of them in danger as well.

It might be the cost of overturning the amendment that some abusive cohabitatants will get off lighter than they would have otherwise, or someone might actually get hurt over this. At the very least, abused individuals wont be sleeping easy knowing that they don't have an active restraining order on their abuser. It annoys me to think that the people of Ohio might have been warned about this possibility and voted for the amendment (and Bush) anyway.

Where do you draw the line and stop people from living like people? If gays can't exist under the law, why do cohabiting individuals that aren't married? It's not like they're all going to get married in the near future. Technically, these people are living in sin as well, if you interpret the bible conservatively. And our law protects them. Why not gays?


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