Thursday, March 24, 2005

We all did what we can do... Does your conscience bother you?

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman has ruled that Issue 1, Ohio's new state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, also invalidates applying Ohio's domestic violence law to unmarried people.

(Edit: The link from Wired stopped working, so I've changed to the Boston Globe. But this story from the Plain Dealer probably lays out the issues better. Thanks to GrrlScientist for the heads up.)

I walked on the line. I cast my vote. I'm pissed, you can't believe how I'm pissed (OK, I probably know you, and yes you can). But I'll sleep tonight.

But I have a question for 60% of voting Ohioans, and 100% of nonvoting ones...

How does it feel?

How do you like knowing your vote bought a year of freedom for a 42-year old man who thinks it's acceptable to hit a woman over a pack of cigs?

What pro-family message did you send, now that violent criminals can walk right back in the home's front door?

When you look at your daughter across the table tonight and know you made her, or one of her friends, less safe... how's your dinner going to taste?

Was it worth it?

I hope it was worth it.

7 Comments:

Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Your link (top link to the story) is broken .. can you fix it? (this sounds like an issue that I want to learn about so I can be pissed off about it, too!)

GrrlScientist

7:16 AM, March 25, 2005  
Blogger lemming said...

My neighbors would reply that unmarried people shouldn't be living together in the first place.

Yeah, I don't like it, either.

8:58 AM, March 26, 2005  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Violence is violence regardless of living situation, and those who are violent should pay the price for indulging in that behavior. Geez, didn't these people learn anything in kindergarten?

GrrlScientist

10:18 AM, March 27, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

Interesting point, GrrlScientist, because the argument that "violence is violence" seems to me to support the idea that generic assault should not be punished differently than domestic violence.

To get a little abstract, I have a lot of trouble with this part of the law. Hate crimes give me similar pause. If we define crimes as different based on the nature of the victim or the motivation, isn't that awfully close to "thought crime"? On the other hand, once that repugnant thought becomes a violent act, is it substantially different than the same act committed for a different reason?

(Morally, I believe that the answer is yes. But I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that reasoning under the U.S. Constitution.)

11:45 AM, March 27, 2005  
Anonymous Ron said...

Do you support laws that make the punishment for shooting (at) a police officer greater than shooting at, well, you?

Isn't it possible that it is in the best interest of all of us to have laws that have differential punishments based on the victim's identity? For example, shooting the President nullifies the most basic right of 200 million voters. Shooting me (an unhappy thought) doesn't have nearly the same deleterious effect on the county and the fabric of our society.

6:03 PM, March 28, 2005  
Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

Joe--

Consider this: A guy who beats up his wife is far more likely to eventually kill her than a guy who beats up a guy at the bar is to kill him. Feels like a good reason to make domestic violence a stricter crime.

Hate crimes? Well, I'm on the fence on that one. All crimes are hate crimes, I guess, but targeting someone based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed feels like a particularly more brutal crime to me because there's nothing the victim can do to avoid it, unlike the aforementioned guy-at-the-bar.

9:53 PM, March 28, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

My argument was based on that "violence is violence" position above. Legally, that ship pretty much sailed when we decided that there is such a thing as "aggravated" assault as well as the regular kind (or manslaughter, murder, and aggravated murder as it's called in Ohio).

The way I see it, the law does a variety of things. It reflects the world we live in, which is complex and full of gradations. It also communicates that social change is happening, as a domestic violence or hate crimes law tells the community that an action which some people believe is allright is clearly not.

It also says what our codes are. Sure, social order and shared standards of human dignity are part of those codes.

But so is "all men are created equal." The law has to be specific and flexible enough to deal with the ugly realities of this civilization of hairless apes. But every now and then, I think it's good to worry about those big ideas too.

10:48 PM, March 30, 2005  

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