Monday, December 12

Ohio Judge Smacks Rove, DC's DP's Get Real

In a case involving domestic violence between unmarried straight couples, Cuyahoga County Judge James Celebrezze ruled a portion of Ohio's horrific SuperDOMA unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause -- specifically the part that prohibits recognition of any "legal status for relationships of unwed partners that intends to approximate ... marriage." Rejecting any notion that the law had a "rational basis," long-time Democrat Celebrezze wrote
It is nearly impossible to divine the purpose for discrimination against unmarried persons, although it is generally accepted that the architects of such referendum ballot issues (across the country) were political operatives like Karl Rove, who sought to guarantee that a certain demographic of voters would turn out in large numbers at the polls to vote in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, the WashBlade reports that the District Council gave initial approval to a major domestic partners law last week. The Domestic Partnership Equality Act of 2005 would grant "full rights of inheritance as well as the obligation to pay alimony and child support." Any two adults, gay or straight, could register. The bill must be voted on a second time and signed by the mayor -- both actions that are likely -- and then not vetoed by Congress during a thirty-day review period -- which is maybe not so certain.

According to the Blade, only four states offer higher levels of recognition: Massachusetts (of course), Vermont and newcomer Connecticut (with their civil unions), followed by -- yes, Ben -- California. For those keeping score, however, the District will still beat out New Jersey and Hawaii, not to mention every goddam red state.

Now D.C. is a place where gay marriage legislation could conceivably pass -- at least if Fenty is elected mayor. Yet Jamie and I won't be rushing out to take advantage of the new law right away, even if Congress doesn't quash it. The reason? So long as Jamie's in school, I don't want there to be any suggestion that our joint finances should be considered in determining if he qualifies for government-subsidized Stafford student loans. Hey, if the Feds are gonna deny me my marital rights, I'll be damned if I'm going to play fair when it comes to the one area where unmarried partners can game the system. Since we already have wills and powers-of-attorney, you should look for a commitment ceremony no sooner than Graduation Day 2007.