Waldlaw Blog

Monday, September 17, 2007

Enough About Marriage!

I was just looking back through recent posts, and realized that for the past month I've mostly been blogging about marriage equality. This is, primarily, because marriage equality is what has been in the news. But I have spent my career advocating for non-traditional families, and as the marriage equality movement fights fiercely to allow same-sex couples to marry and, therefore, to be included in the "traditional" family framework, it is my pledge and my goal to continue advocating for non-traditional families -- especially non-traditional families with children. My mantra, increasingly, is "marriage isn't my issue" -- so why so many blogs about marriage equality? I was reminded last week, at the annual "Lavender Law" conference, of how much we are defined by the media. If the media is interested in kids, we talk about our kids; if the media is interested in where we take vacations, we talk about where we take vacations; if the media is interested in marriage, we talk about marriage. As a blogger, it is tempting to look at what's "in the news" and talk about that. But I am now taking a personal, Wald Law, blogger pledge: I will not be talking about marriage equality again until and unless there is some MAJOR news (like winning marriage equality in the California Supreme Court, which we may do next year due largely to the heroic efforts of my friend and colleague Shannon Minter at the National Center for Lesbian Rights). Otherwise, I am going to try to avoid being swept whichever way the media wind is blowing, and stick to my basic Wald Law tenet: we at Wald Law are here to represent the full diversity of contemporary families, be they gay, straight, partnered, single, or parenting in trios and quartets. We are here to talk about adoption; assisted reproduction; and the trials and tribulations of divorce outside the boundaries of the law. We are here to talk about what others are not talking about. If I forget, please remind me....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Call to Action in CA

All of a sudden, I seem to be all about marriage! I usually try to steer clear of the same-sex marriage debate, since it is already taking up so much time and energy within the contemporary family law community and I am convinced that some of us need to remain focused on securing rights and protections for non-marital families with children -- including single parents, co-parents, and a variety of other truly non-traditional family models -- while so much of our community is focused on marriage equality. But we are in a historic moment in CA when action is needed, SO .... California's is the only Legislature in the country to vote in same-sex marriage. They voted it in last year, and Gov. Schwarzeneger vetoed, saying that the courts need to decide whether same-sex couples in CA should be allowed to wed. (This is completely backwards, as I wrote in my blog then -- the courts are constantly arguing that a change this big must be brought about through the democratic process, and the opposition rants and raves about "activist judges" who act like legislators to bring about social change that should be brought about at the ballot box instead -- but then when a progressive (and, frankly, heroic) Legislature actually uses the democratic process to enact same-sex marriage, the Governor vetoes it because it wasn't brought about by the courts. Can you spell "hypocrisy"??) Well, on Friday California's Legislature again voted for marriage equality, at a critical moment when the California Supreme Court is wading through legal briefs and preparing to hear oral argument on the issue. And again, Governor Schwarzeneger is threatening a veto. A strong public showing in support of marriage equality now could make a huge difference to the California Supreme Court -- put bluntly, it will let them know that we have their backs. If you ever sign petitions or make phone calls or write letters to elected officials, this would be an excellent time to do it! Let Governor Schwarzeneger know that the People of California have acted, through our democratically-elected officials, to support marriage equality in our state, and it is time for him to get out of the way! For a full article on the marriage vote, and to find out how to get involved, go to http://www.eqca.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=9oINKWMCF&b=40337&ct=4401763.