Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Gay Marriage - In Texas? Now There's a Friday Fright...

Playing in the background: Bird twitters. It's cool enough to leave the door open.

Well, the latest thing to shake up the Metroplex is a judge's recent ruling granting a gay couple a divorce. Upon first glance it does seem pretty radical, but in the end, I'm thinking not so much. The judge did state, though, that she thought Texas's ban on gay marriage (which was approved by both voters and legislature by some ridiculous margin, like 75% in favor) violated the United States Constitution. What she cited was the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Article IV, Section 1, which states, in part, that "full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state."

I was waiting for somebody in the whole gay-marriage debate to finally get to that. According to the Full Faith & Credit Clause, if you're married in one state, you're married in all states - that's why you don't have to get re-married every time you move. The Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed under George W.'s reign of error, says that states can freely ignore the clause where gay marriage is concerned. This judge is saying, uh, not so much. I think she's right, but maybe not for the reasons she's stating.

Warning: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one at work, and I don't know jack about family law, except what I've picked up in passing. So don't take anything I'm about to tell you as gospel. Check it out yourself. Your local library is a great place to start.

See, a gay couple can get married in a handful of states (we got married in Cali in 2008, right before they banned it again) but in order to get divorced, you have to live in a place. It's called being "domiciled" and it's mainly to do with children, but it's what they base the whole case on. This is why you hear about people moving to Nevada to get divorced in a hurry, say. I think you only have to be domiciled for three weeks before you can file for divorce in Nevada.
Most states it's six months to a year.

Now, it goes without saying, if you got married in one state and move to another, you need to divorce in that second state because that's where you're now domiciled. But what if you're gay and the state you moved to doesn't recognize your marriage as valid? Can you then not get divorced? Do you have to move to a state that does recognize gay marriage in order to get divorced? Or can you just walk away, secure in the knowledge that your state doesn't recognize gay marriage so you're just free and clear? (Course, your partner could move back to the state where you were married, sue you for abandonment, and you could lose your shirt, but I digress.)

The judge was addressing this very problem when she granted the divorce. She was essentially saying, "It doesn't matter where this marriage was entered, or by whom. They live in Texas now and we need to divorce them if they want to divorce." So it's really not as radical as it sounds. I do find it interesting, though, that Gov. Perry wants to appeal the ruling. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have standing to do so. I think domestic-relations cases can only be appealed by the parties involved. But again, I know jack about family law, so I could be wrong.

Speaking of scary domestic relations, this week's Friday Fright is The Mist, based on the novella of the same name by "Big Steve" King. This is a truly terrifying movie, but not the way you might think. The story involves a bunch of people who are trapped in a supermarket when an eerie mist swallows the town and, who knows, maybe the entire Eastern seaboard. Outside in the mist are, well, monsters. They show up and do what monsters do--eat people, spit venom, hiss a lot, etc.--but the really scary creatures in this movie are the human beings in the store.

As the situation deteriorates, people behave badly, mobs are formed, fights break out and -- nah, I better not tell you anything else. Except that even after some of our intrepid few escape the store, their troubles are not over. This movie will haunt you for days. Half monster movie,half brooding meditation on the thin veneer of civilization, The Mist asks us what we really believe, if our values can be so easily tossed aside in a crisis. As a person, as a parent, as a community, when is the right time to give up hope? And if it turns out that you gave up hope too soon, what do you do then? Four stars (AWESOME). Arachnophobes, avoid this one. Everyone else, check it out.

1 comment:

Josue said...

I like to talk about issues related to marriage, some time ago when I was in college studying psychology conducted a study called before marriage, where we found the main problems for which divorces happen ...