Tuesday, May 24, 2005

News: Fornicaters beware!!

A recent Reuters story chronicles odd state laws still on the books against swearing, owning skunks and living togehter without the government's blessing. Seven states (North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi and North Dakota) have laws against cohabitation. Meanwhile, four other states (Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina and Utah) still make it illegal to have sexual relations outside of wedlock. Do it and you're committing the crime of fornication.

AtMP's Dorian Solot is quoted here, noting that "The good news is most of these laws are not enforced, as far as we know," said Solot. "They occasionally come up when a prosecutor is already looking into an individual and may decide to throw another charge at them."

Friday, May 20, 2005

News: A Debate at Legal Affairs: Should Marriage Be Abolished?

Over at Legal Affairs, "the magazine at the intersection of life and law," Mary Lyndon Shanley and Linda McClainde go at it over the state of marriage and the law. Shanley argues that civil unions should replace state-based marriage while McClainde argues that marriage is an evolving institution worth preserving.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

News: "New Jersey: A State That Doesn't Hate"

A new poll by Zogby and Garden State Equality out this week says that 55% of New Jersey voters support gay marriage. And by nearly a two to one margin, New Jerseyans also say that their state legislature should not seek to ban gay marriage by constitutional amendment.

After helping to pass the state’s domestic partnership law last year, the organization Garden State Equality has organized an series of town hall meetings on the issue of gay marriage under the slogan: "New Jersey: A State That Doesn't Hate." The next meeting will be in Maplewood on Sunday, July 10, 2005, featuring Congressman Barney Frank.

The poll also asks if voters would consider casting a ballot for former Governor Jim “I am a gay American” McGreevey should he ever seek statewide office again. 49% say they would consider voting for McGreevey. 43% say they would not vote for him, but not because he’s gay. 6% report that they would never support McGreevey as he is gay.

News: Marriage and The Case of Terry Schiavo

Terry Schiavo's case has pointed out to married folks what many unmarried couples are already knew. While doctors tend to honor the wishes of the next of kin, in this case husband Michael Schiavo, this was not the case this time when Ms. Schaivo's parents contested that right. Couples, regardless of their legal status, need to be more vigilent when it comes to health care decisions and the law. which people have the power to make health care decisions for them.

In the wake of the Schiavo controversy, thousands have signed living wills, but in many states this document is insufficient and wouldn't have prevented the Schiavo conflict. It's the often overlooked establishment of power of attorney for health care matters which establishes a clear decision maker. Many married couples that is a critical and often overlooked step, particularly for married couples who might assume these decisions would be left up to their spouse. FindLaw and Nolo offer excellent information about drawing up these documents.