Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mixed Bag...

First, something that the law is supposed to do. Last November, the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. In February, the Court reaffirmed last November's decision. Recently, the Massachusetts Court applied a law from 1913 and found that the Massachusetts permission for gay marriage may not apply in other states where such marriages are illegal. This limits the application of the gay rights decision under principles of conflict of law by giving other states a way to avoid applying laws not coextensive with their own. While viewed by gay rights activists as discriminatory, its interesting to note that this law applies to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. On its face, this appears to be the equal application of the law. Ideally, this is exactly what gay couples would be hoping for, equality. However, this prevents homosexual couples from garnering protections provided by Massachusetts in other states, and is why activists are against the decision. The only reason why this law does not apply to heterosexual couples is because heterosexual marriage is legal in ever state. We will just have to wait and see how things play out.

Michigan has tonight's other example of how oddly the law applies in certain cases. Apparently, a teen in Michigan posted pictures of two of his teenage friends having sex on his blog. The situation gets interesting because the state charged the Blogger under a child pornography law since the female participant was only 16 years old. Interestingly, the age of consent in Michigan is 16. For some reason, this result doesn't make much sense. The idea that someone can be charged with the distribution of child pornography when both of the participants are legally capable of consenting to engage in sexual intercourse. The application of the child pornography law makes sense because it aims to prevent the exploitation of minors. I just wonder if maybe the state's response was a big extreme given the circumstances. In addition, it also appears to point out a problem with the law, which may require re-drafting to compensate for the legal anomaly. I am not saying what the Blogger did was right, but I wonder if the state's response could be characterized as excessive.

No comments: