Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Heather Used to Have Two Mommies

Dave almost writes the perfect headline for this post. (Check out Partisan Pundit's take, too).

The story is here. According to the World Net Daily piece, a California court just creatively reinterpreted the state's child support laws to cover lesbian couples that separate. The World Net Daily piece quotes Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, who criticizes the ruling for judicial activism a la the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts:

"The arrogance of the California court in attempting to redefine the family by the mere stroke of a pen is nothing short of extraordinary."

Like Partisan Pundit, my initial reaction was negative, but that changed between the time I read the headline and the time I read the rest of the story. We're dealing here with the tension between two basic interests: the interest of groups like Crampton's in preserving traditional legal definitions of family, and the interest of a child (in this case, several children) in getting financial support from a parental-type figure who has abandoned him or her.

Yes, I agree there are political undertones to this case. But the practical result of the case, had it gone the other way, would have been to penalize the child because of the relationship decisions of the parents. There is all the difference in the world between the Massachusetts case, which reflects a judicial decision to try to shape American culture in spite of the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, and the California case, which reflects the best interest of children who, one way or another, need support. Any political undertones, in my opinion, need to take a back seat to that interest.