Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Iraqi Consititution Failure, California Courts' Success

A couple of things to pay attention to here, one good and one very, very, very bad. The bad news first. It appears that the democratic experience that we have begun for Iraqis will either turn into a out and out civil war among the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds or will result in a Theocratic, Islamic state, in which women who have enjoyed freedoms for the last 40 years will be stripped of the right to profession, property, etc.
See Elise's post at Bitch, Phd, Shakespeare's Sister, Amanda at Pandagon , Digby, and Pepper.

Now, for the good news. The California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex parents have equal rights to children from their union, even when they are no longer together. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The California Supreme Court broke new legal ground for same-sex parents Monday by ruling that lesbian and gay partners who plan a family and raise a child together should be considered legal parents after a breakup, with the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual parents.

Three weeks after issuing a precedent-setting decision banning business discrimination against domestic partners, the justices took another step toward equal treatment for the tens of thousands of California households headed by same-sex couples. The court became the first in the nation to grant full parental status to same-sex partners regardless of their marital status or biological connection with their children.

"We perceive no reason why both parents of a child cannot be women,'' said Justice Carlos Moreno, writing for the majority in three related rulings issued Monday.

It was a bold statement by a normally cautious court -- although, as Moreno pointed out, the Legislature said essentially the same thing in a new law that gave domestic partners most of the same rights as spouses, including parental rights. Monday's rulings went a step further and granted parental status to members of couples who had separated before the law took effect in January.

In each of the three cases, the court said, lesbian partners had cooperated in conceiving and rearing children in a family setting and, thus, were both legal parents -- entitling them to visitation over an ex-partner's objections and requiring them to pay child support. The ruling would apply equally to gay men who agreed to raise a child together.

The WaPo (like many other newspapers) ran this quotation from Matthew Staver:

"Today's ruling defies logic and common sense by saying that children can have two moms," said attorney Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel. "That policy establishes that moms and dads as a unit are irrelevant when it comes to raising children."

There's that blasted "common sense" and "logic" stuff again. What on earth is "common sense" for these wing-nuts? What exactly is embracing traditional family values? Should we take a look at what the Iraqi Constitution is threatening to do to women as a clue to what they consider logical and common sense approaches to raising children?