Thursday, July 27, 2006

Adoption, Beach Trip, Denial of Civil Rights

Wow - has it been a busy week! As of Friday, July 21, I completed my first legal action. Granted, it was acting as a Petitioner In Pro Se (on my own behalf) which anyone could do, but the thing is, I did it, and actually understood what I was doing! It was for the adoption of our 17-month-month old daughter, which my partner gave birth to, and which we planned, conceived, and have raised together. Although we'd planned on going through the adoption process shortly after her birth, mixed answers at the County Courthouse for how to handle second-parent adoptions, and then law school, delayed plans for doing it ourselves. We'd hired an attorney for our son's adoption, but this time around we were hoping to save high attorney fees. Now that I've completed one year of law school, I at least got what a Petition was, along with the other documents that had to be filed, and understood the language when I spoke to someone at the courthouse. So, by doing the adoption myself, law school saved us about $1500, so far. Only another $32,500 and the year will have paid for itself! *grin* Does this count as a legal internship?

We had a wonderful trip to Long Beach, Washington with my nephew, who I haven't seen for 6 years, his family, plus my sister and her husband. It was great fun, and wonderful to see our kids all playing together. For the pictures, see my partner's blog for July 25th.

On the down side, Washington State confirmed it's discriminatory practice of denying same-sex couples the right to marry. The State Supreme Court in a 5/4 decision stated that the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which states that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, was not unconstitutional. For the opinions, click here. As a student of the law, I find the opinions fascinating, and they really reinforce that reasonable minds can differ. Along with the majority opinion, there were two consenting and three dissenting opinions published. I have not made my way through all of them, but so far, they are all well-written, well-thought out, and even where I disagreed, I could see the rationality behind the argument. That somehow both reassures me, and concerns me that something that even the majority seems to be saying is not in the best interests of the state and is discriminatory can be upheld.

I don't have the time right now to go further into this topic, but let me just add that beyond being a law student, this decision impacts me personally. My partner and I live in Washington state, and this decision both saddens and angers me. Despite being upstanding citizens, parents, neighbors, friends, employees..etc...we continue to be viewed as second class citizens in the eyes of the law. The injustice must end, and it will, but when?

1 comment:

Mieke said...

I am sorry to hear about the vote -at least it was close!It's been a horrid last few weeks for gay marriage. I still stunned at NY. Keep the faith though.

In the meantime, my heart hurts for the people who were shot at the JCC in Seattle. I read one was pregnant. I hope she's ok.