Thursday, December 07, 2006

On more unwed mothers

Okay, so on the topic of pregnant women who aren't married, Vice Presidential daughter Mary Cheney is expecting a baby with Heather Poe, her partner of 15 years.

Except, per Virginia law, Mary's technically expecting this baby by herself. The double-plus-ungoodly named Marriage Affirmation Act, passed in 2004, and Virginia's recent ban on gay marriage have guaranteed that Heather Poe will never have a legal relationship with her child as long as the family lives in Virginia. She may not be allowed to pick their child up at school. She may not be allowed to visit Mary and the baby in the hospital during delivery. And should Mary for any reason become incapacitated, Heather may not be allowed to make any decisions affecting the welfare of the child.

But, as Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America points out, it's just what they get for their "unconscionable" decision to reproduce. "It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father," Crouse said. "They are encouraging people who don't have the advantages they have."

Those advantages, however, aren't as advantageous as one might think. The aforementioned Marriage Affirmation Act not only prevents Mary and Heather from living as a couple in the eyes of the law, it even prevents them from making any arrangements for the welfare of their child. Because they're gay.

As Jonathan Rauch points out in an editorial (via AmericaBlog) following the passage of the act, the act disenfranchises gays in Virginia and, in essence, denies them personhood by taking away their right to enter into contracts with or concerning their partners. Gay people don't have the right to the disposition of their own property in Virginia. Mary cannot sign a medical power of attorney giving Heather rights to make decision for her health care, write a will leaving her personal property to Heather after death, open a joint checking account, or share custody of their child. Because they're gay. Slaves were not allowed to enter into contracts because they were the personal property of others, children can't enter into contracts because they're wards of their parents, and in the state of Virginia, gays are, apparently, less than people. And the state of Virginia is now prohibited from recognizing them as anything more.

Always remember: It's not important that a child have two loving parents. It's not important that a child have abundant financial support. It's not important that a child be raised in an open, tolerant, and nonjudgmental environment. It's not imporant that a child be loved. It's not important that a child have limitless opportunities. It's not important that a child live in a stable environment with two parents who love each other. What is important is that one of those parents has a penis and the other doesn't.

Virginia is for lovers. As long as you love the right person.

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