Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Geography, law, and leaving things up to the states to decide

The problem here is not that some states are unusually incompetent or corrupt (I'm looking at you Texas), but because people move more frequently and federal law has ballooned into places where the original signers of the Constitution never envisioned. Take the current rather bigoted opposition to gay marriage and throw transsexuals into the mix: the equation becomes hilariously/tragically more complicated. Money quote from the NYT article on the subject (registration is free but I don't like to encourage sites to put up that trash, so I recommend BugMeNot, an addon for Firefox that you should try to only use legally):
Urging the United States Supreme Court to tackle the issue in 2000, lawyers for Christie Lee Littleton, a Texas male-to-female transsexual suing her husband’s doctors for wrongful death, noted the confused landscape: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.” The Supreme Court declined to take the case.

No comments: