Monday, August 20, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Something and Something Else...

Alright, you heathens.  It's time to stoke the fire.  I would prefer to have a nice "wtf" lawyer story, but we've already talked about Cannon and Levinson this month.  So until one of you lovely people does something new that's stupid and embarrassing at the RJC (tearing your suit pants won't cut it, that one's been taken), we'll have to talk about a few broader things.

So let's start with a fun hot-button.  We've all heard that somewhere in some religious book it says "marriage is one man and one woman."  I don't know where that passage is, but I'm sure one of you does and will tell us all in the comments.

that's what she said...

This weekend has presented us with two interesting stories that are on the opposite ends of the spectrum and both should provide you feral commenters with plenty of fodder.  If you want to enter the fray, we'll get started after the jump.

Our first intriguing story is the story of Brittney and Terri-Ann.  They are a same-sex couple who obtained a certificate of domestic partnership under the '09 law that granted domestic partnerships the same rights as granted by a marriage license.  Brittney was carrying the couple's child and checked into Spring Valley Hospital back in July after developing some complications with her pregnancy.  Here's where it gets weird.  The hospital told the couple that Terri would need to get a power of attorney before she could make any medical decisions regarding Brittney's pregnancy and was not entitled to updates as to Brittney's medical condition.

this is them holding paper

Here's where it gets sad.  Brittney eventually lost the baby.  During and after the surgery, Terri-Ann apparently only received limited information, which she says was only because the couple already knew the doctor.  The couple now claims they have no intention of filing a lawsuit.  Since we all know how that line usually turns out, we'll see what happens.  On that note, anyone know if a lawsuit is in the works against Spring Valley?  I hear they've been getting in trouble with some lawsuits here and there over how they run that hospital.

this is where you will be attached to the human centipede

Oh, before we switch sides, there was one funny part to the story.  Even though Terri-Ann was not allowed to make medical decisions, the hospital did accept her insurance for Brittney's care.  So I guess insurance companies are cool with domestic partnerships.

Alright, now the flip side.  Our second story is the story of Kody and Meri...and Janelle and Christine and Robyn.  If you have never seen the show "Sister Wives," your TV-viewing decisions are bad and you should feel bad.  The show is absolutely hilarious (though usually unintentionally so) and does occasionally come close to decreasing the stigma against polygamists.  That being said, bigamy is still a crime in Utah, which is why the lovely couple (quintuple?) moved here to Vegas.  It was their hope to avoid the scrutiny of Utah.  Which makes sense because Vegas is very low key.

come play with us...

In an attempt to turn the tables, the Browns had filed a lawsuit to declare the bigamy law unconstitutional as a violation of privacy rights.  If you can hear Scalia yelling "I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!!" in your head, you must have done well in Con Law and recall his famous line from Lawrence v. Texas about overturning sodomy laws being the gateway to overturning laws against everything from bestiality to bigamy.

"you've fallen into my trap perfectly..."
It looks like Scalia may get his wish.  U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups denied the state's motion to dismiss, saying that the fact that the Browns had not been charged with bigamy did not mean they had not suffered an injury that warranted the suit.  So yeah, the constitutional issue of privacy rights is going to decide what's up

Alright, let's have it.  Remember to stay civil in the comments.



  1. Why do people care who wants to get married and to whom? With a greater than 50% divorce rate in this country, marriage isn't all that sacred.

    Now share the gossip.

  2. Observation: The two lesbians in the photo aren't really all that horrible.

    Seriously, as long as they're not commiting crimes or infringing on others' rights, let them do what they want. Some people really like being married and do well with it. Others can't seem to commit to the whole lifetime/partnership/cooperation thing. Would it really be any different among same-sex couples? And would allowing same-sex couples to test the waters of marriage really lead to the end of the world as we know it?

    For lawyers, I would think as a group we might encourage states to loosen up on same-sex marriage. If nothing else, it would create a new source of divorce cases thus creating work for the glut of underemployed third-tier grads.

  3. First, there is no bigamy if you didn't get multiple license to marry multiple people. Spirit or religious marriages are not the same thing. So, who cares if four women want to shack up with what's his face? Now, if he wants to claim all his wives as his dependents on his taxes, then that is another conversation.
    I think it shouldn't matter marriage, no marriage, if you tell the hospital to tell someone (anyone) about what is going on medically with you while you are there, then they should listen. I had my youngest at Spring Valley. Besides the bitchy nurses, we had no problems.
    I do think that hospital staff make moral judgments and act inappropriately from there. Anyone remember the placenta case at Sunrise? Give the woman her plactenta! Who cares what she wants to do with it? Really.
    Scalia, your slipper slope argument is just like your hair style, ridiclous!

  4. This is really a big issue nowadays. After vowing with each other and promise that you will love one another till death do your part, the spark's gone. I don't know why this is happening in our society right now. Marriage is very sacred for couples who believe that they will be forever til' eternally. Pre-marital sex before marriage is not new to everyone and this can be one of the reasons why marriage is not working. After all, every man/woman is being tempted by their environment and we can't deny the fact that we are weak when we are tempted, until such time that we discover to ourselves that we are already beyond our limitations, cross our boundaries without realizing that we are already committed to someone. Well, we really can't choose whom to love since love is powerful after all.

  5. Please do enlighten us on this slipper slope argument and how ridiclous it is.