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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Equal Protection

A New York Times editorial talks about some of the legal convolutions Gay couples partake in to get the same financial protections that married couples have.

One consequence of denying gay couples the right to marry is that it forces people to resort to legal convolutions to protect their family’s financial interests. This problem is currently at the center of an intriguing lawsuit involving Olive Watson, a granddaughter of Thomas Watson Sr., the founder of I.B.M., and Patricia Ann Spado, her former lesbian partner of 14 years.

Sixteen years ago, when she was 43, Ms. Watson adopted Ms. Spado, then 44, under a Maine law that allows one adult to adopt another. The purpose was to allow Ms. Spado to qualify as an heir to Ms. Watson’s estate. It was a legal path used over the years by an untold number of same-sex couples who had been denied a straightforward way to establish inheritance rights through marriage.

Less than a year after the adoption, the pair broke up. Ms. Spado has filed a claim seeking to inherit a share of Mr. Watson’s estate, contending that her adoption technically makes her one of Mr. Watson’s grandchildren.

As Pam Belluck, Alison Leigh Cowan and Ariel Sabar reported in The Times, Watson trust lawyers are pursuing a variety of tactics to defeat Ms. Spado’s claim, including trying to annul the adoption on the grounds that the law was not intended for same-sex partners. Ms. Spado convincingly argues that an annulment would leave other adoptions on shaky ground, and that the “courts cannot unravel longstanding judgments based on third-party aversions to personal lifestyles.”

While the outcome is hard to predict, the lesson is clear: gay people who want to protect their families should not have to resort to adult adoptions. Nor should they be confined to separate and unequal new legal regimes, like civil unions, or rely on a patchwork of contracts, some of dubious enforceability. One benefit that comes with marriage is a universally understood framework for formally dissolving relationships and settling financial matters.
You won't hear this often from TFM but I'm almost in agreement with the Times. GLBT people should have the same legal protections and I've said it before in regards to the disgraceful happenings in Largo Florida. Gay marriage is not an issue with much support in the US, but giving those in civil unions the same legal benefits may workable. As the Times says, adult adoptions shouldn't have to be done.

Linked to- Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Random Yak, Woman Honor Thyself,

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