Continued Advocacy

As expected, the Providence Journal Sunday edition marks the fourth out of the last five days that the gay-funeral/governor-veto story has landed on the front page, this time with the personal story, by Randal Edgar, of Mark Goldberg, one of the advocates for the legislation.
Goldberg’s experience with the current law was terrible — so much so that it’s difficult to believe that a more efficient government wouldn’t have been able to resolve the matter much more quickly (and humanely) under existing policies. That said, I disagree with the governor; this “piecemeal” approach is precisely appropriate — certainly more so than legislation granting “all but the name” marriage-like partnerships for homosexuals. The reason is that, as we enact laws recognizing relationships, we should ask ourselves the questions of “what” and “why.”
Take, for example, this explanation for Goldberg’s motivation, in today’s paper:

GOLDBERG SAYS the delays were all the more frustrating because he was grieving.
“Here’s somebody just lying on a slab, and you’re thinking, what is the dignity in this,” he said. “I still loved the man and I wanted to do what was right for him, what was honorable, and respectful.”

Are married people, homosexual partners, and people with nearby family members the only ones with a claim to dignity in death? Compassion provides no explanation for the expansive definition of “domestic partner” provided in the vetoed legislation. Why must one be “financially interdependent” in order to have a sincere desire to execute the last wishes of somebody for whom one cared? Why, for that matter, does the legislation contain language stating that such partners could not be “related by blood to a degree which would prohibit marriage in the state of Rhode Island? Under the funeral law, all such relations have rights to claim bodily remains.
It’s difficult not to suspect an ulterior motive in injecting the definition at some highly emotional point in the law. Personally, I say we do away with that necessity: Put the legislation’s description into the law somewhere more central, defining the “domestic partner” relationship for all purposes, and then on an issue-by-issue basis, decide whether a particular right or privilege ought to apply… or ought to be expanded more broadly.

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14 years ago

I was wondering how AR folks felt about an idea about marriage that I conjured-up a while back…
Why is the government in the marriage business anyway?
It seems to me that the part of marriage that the government should be interested in is the part where two people decide to become one business entity, with redundancy. The redundancy part is essential to raising children (if one loses a job or dies, there’s still a parent there). The business part allows two incomes to be leveraged to make major purchases, like homes.
The title of ‘married’, as far as I’m concerned, should come from a church, temple, mosque, or other organization, not the government.
Why doesn’t the government get out of the ‘marriage’ business altogether, and -only- recognize civil unions? Let ‘marriage’ be in the civil domain, and ‘civil unions’ be in the government domain.
This way, if a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or a mother and son, or two siblings, or two friends want to become a ‘civil union’ in order to leverage themselves out on a house and raise (obviously, some configurations should not ‘produce’) children, they could.
It seems to me that it would allow both sides to have their cake and eat it too.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
14 years ago

It seems to me that Mr. Goldberg is attempting to take a normal situation and leverage it into discrimination.
Matters could have been “handled” with Mr. Goldberg’s appointment as a funeral planning agent, but were not. What we have is “unintended consequences”, not discrimination.
Taking it further, Mr. Goldberg was planning a divorce. That would make him an unlikely appointee as funeral planning agent.

14 years ago

The part that I don’t understand in the Governor’s veto explanation is when he said that one year together is not enough time to establish two people as being together or a couple or however it was explained. But yet if a man and a woman meet at a bar, get stinkin’ drunk, go find a Justice of the Peace at 3 am, get married and then on the way home one gets run over by a bus, the other one has a legal right to all of the deceased belongings, including their body.
Make sense?

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