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Showing posts from January, 2010

In the Headlines this Week

There has been an amazing amount of press and activity in legislatures throughout this country with regards to same-sex marriage. Most likely it's a direct result of the Prop. 8 trial and the probability that the US Supreme Court will hear some of the issues. Do you have twitter? Then follow me and you'll get the most up to date information, headlines, and of course my comments.

Another state introducing Anti-Gay Marriage Bill. This time it's Pennsylvania. (

Indiana Gay Marriage Ban Bill passes Senate and headed to the House (

Recent poll shows increasing support in Utah for gay rights as well cohabiting unmarried couples (

No sex -- no marriage. At least that's what a Maryland lawmaker wants (

One More Reason Why Pres. Obama & Scott Brown Won't Get Married - They're distant cousins --and by distance I mean 10th cousins! (

In the SOTU address, Presid…

The Missing Middle

Via Wall Street Journal Blog | The Juggle | January 27, 2009
Family-Aid Proposals in State of the Union Address
By Sue Shellenbarger, Associated Press

Highlights from the SOTU and The Juggle's Post on the President's Family Aid Proposals to help the middle-class or the "missing middle."

–Child-care tax credit: Increasing the tax credit to 35% of qualifying expenses. This would increase the tax credit by $450 a year for one child and to $900 for two or more children. However the cap on eligible expenses remains the same at $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two.

–Student-loan relief: The President also wants to cap federal loan repayments at 10% of their income, after a basic living allowance.

–Child-care funding: The President proposes to add an additional $1.6 billion in child-care funding expanding child-care subsidy programs for low-income families.

–Elder-care aid: And he proposes to add a $52.5 million Caregiver Initiative which increases funding for "respite ca…

Traditional Marriage Always Wins? I think not.

Mr. Chaffetz is fighting hard to send a message to DC democrats through his efforts to overturn the recent DC ordinance recognizing same sex marriage that traditional marriage is right. He candidly admits that he knows that the bill will not get heard but is deciding to pursue it anyway because of the "symbolism" and because "HE" thinks it's the right thing to do. Okay last time I checked, Congressional Representatives represent the people of the state who elected them not the people of another state or district and definitely not the Representative's own personal and religious opinions. I wonder how Utah citizens feel about Mr. Chaffetz's taxpayer funded efforts.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz attempts to overturn D.C. gay marriage law
By Lee Davidson, Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 2:03 p.m. MST

Scotland Family Law Protects "Co-habitees"

This "family law" is an ingenius solution for "unmarried" couples who live together because it recognizes that there is a lack of protection in relationships other than marriage. Today, more and more couples are living together out of choice or because there is no other option for their relationship (same-sex). This law provides redress for those couples that split up and one takes it all and leaves the other in the cold. Here in the U.S. there is no such protection unless you have a will, a deed, or a "contract" such as a co-habitation agreement or co-ownership agreement that outlines how to divy up the property or resolve a dispute in the event of death or dissolution. And it isn't fair. Most happily in love and now we're living together couples don't want to jinx their relationship by sitting down to discuss all the what ifs. Although this law isn't the perfect solution, it's a great first step and insurance policy. Will the …

Marry whoever you want?

Map courtesy of the New York Times

Oftentimes, same sex proponents point out that everyone should have the right to marry whoever they want regardless of religion, gender, or race. But what about relatives? Here in Texas, Texans are not allowed to marry any relative whether by blood, marriage, or adoption nor are they allowed to marry someone of their own gender. You can't marry your step-dad, cousin, half brother, or your adopted parent's siblings. Although most of us would agree that marrying a close relative is a pretty repulsive idea, it begs the question. Can advocates really carry the argument that we should be able to marry whoever we want? It's definitely a risky argument considering that Science and medicine have proven that the offspring of incest are at risk for genetic defects. Stay tuned...

The "Benefits" of Living Together, Married or Not

Recent articles and news coverage indicate that many couples are getting married or becoming "domestic partners" solely for the benefits i.e. healthcare insurance and tax savings. However, for those couples who cannot get married in states that don't recognize same-sex marriages or for those couples who simply don't want to get married, you still have options. You just have to be creative. Thomas Franklin offers income-tax tips to unmarried couples.

Windy City Times
Unmarried income-tax opportunities
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Thomas H. Franklin

Should cameras be allowed in the (family) courtroom?

The Judge in Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al Challenge to "Proposition 8"
case allowed the case to be recorded and eventually uploaded to YouTube but the Supreme Court upon appeal ruled "not so fast" and stayed the broadcast until they could look into the matter further. We'll know more on Wednesday.

Having cameras in a family law case has far reaching implications because it sets a precedent that other courts can follow when dealing with sensitive or political issues. Imagine having your entire family history paraded before the public for the benefit of an official's agenda (judges here in Texas are elected). Testifying in court is already intimidating - even more so with the knowledge that the public is watching. Attorneys already endure challenges in getting witnesses to testify in these matters. With cameras involved, it only adds more pressure on the parties and drives up the costs of litigation. The judicial process IS transparent. All you ha…

Elizabeth Gilbert on Marriage

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and new book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage talks to fellow writer and friend Ann Patchett about ''til death do us part'. In the interview she points out "that there exists only one path in America to complete social legitimacy, and that is marriage. I think, for instance, that it would be far easier for Americans to elect a black president or a female president than an unmarried president. That would truly feel like cause for suspicion. Which means—of course—there is a massive pressure to apply this particular shape to one's relationship. Which might explain why Americans marry more—and, sadly, divorce more—than anyone else in the industrialized world. So the downside is that there is a rush to the altar—couples want to earn that badge of instant respect—when they perhaps are unready, or not mature enough, to actually take on that commitment." Is she right? I think so. Seriously, can you imagine a …

Yours Truly Quoted in Runner's World

For the last year, I have worked closely with BikeTexas to get the Safe Passing bill passed here in Texas. Unfortunately Governor Perry vetoed it despite overwhelming support in the House and Senate. I spoke with the reporter working on an article on runner safety and the lack of advocacy on behalf of runners as a group. While working on the Safe Passing bill, it quickly became clear that pedestrians i.e. runners had zero representation at the Capital even though the bill included them along with cyclists, tow truck operators, farm equipment operators in the "vulnerable road users" category. The reporter ran with it and penned an entire feature and insert on Runner Safety. Hopefully the article will create more awareness and inspire runners to get more involved.


How to avoid collisions with cars from

Prop 8 case to be shown on YouTube

Well, it's almost as good as being in the courtroom but not quite. Still, an unpredented ruling.
Judge: Gay Marriage Trial Can Be Shown on YouTube
Judge says upcoming federal trial on Calif. gay marriage ban can be taped, uploaded to YouTube

By LISA LEFF Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO January 7, 2010 (AP) The Associated Press

Same sex divorce in Texas?

In the last couple of months, I have seen an increase in my practice of same sex couples inquiring about gay divorce here in Texas as a direct result of the ruling by Dallas Judge Tena Callahan that a gay male couple who had filed for divorce would get their divorce — AND that the Texas (gay) marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The Dallas couple were legally married while living in Massachusetts and filed for divorce in Texas a year ago. This is a landmark decision because Texas "does not recognize" same sex marriage and in fact actually passed an amendment to the Texas constitution to ban gay marriage. Judge Callahan's decision "to end the marriage" has drawn fire from the Texas Attorney General and Governor Perry who would both like to make the issue about "marriage". It's not about "marriage", it's about divorce, the end of a marriage. This is an issue that must be addressed and decided as more and more states begin recognizing s…

WENDY MURPHY: A new decade’s resolution for women

By Wendy Murphy, The Patriot Ledger, Posted Jan 03, 2010 @ 12:27 PM

Every 30 or 40 years or so, women realize they’re getting a raw deal. From voting rights to equal pay, the “movement” comes and goes. But it’s been a while since the last wave, and in light of a recent study that found women are less happy now than they were decades ago, it’s high time for a tsunami.

It’s not that women are openly enslaved in misery. It’s more insidious than that. We’re stuck in the mire of a society that manipulates us through the cultural construct of what a “good” woman should look like, and how she should live her life.

One slick magazine cover after the next shows a perfectly coiffed, wrinkle-free beauty, grinning ear to ear with Hollywood sized snow-white teeth, draped in the latest “must-have” outfit. Alongside the cover girls are reams of glossy home decorating magazines that feature gorgeous living rooms and kitchens filled with the trendiest appliances.

There aren’t any pictures of women in …

Are you really married? Texas Democrat says maybe not

Texas marriages in legal limbo due to 2005 error, Democrat says

DAVE MONTGOMERY/Fort Worth Star-Telegram 17 November 2009
AUSTIN -- Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Texas Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by Texas voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the trouble-making phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. Read more.

Would you marry for healthcare?

Many of us wish we had the financial ability to marry for "love" but with the rising costs of healthcare and the bad economy, more and more couples are having shorter engagements or no engagement at all. This article is an interesting read on this growing trend.

Read the article here.