Saturday, March 19, 2005


Terri Schiavo: What Would the GOP Do If…

Marriage, The Law, and The GOP

The Terri Schiavo case is tragic to say the least. At the core is a lesson for us all to obtain a living will so that our wishes are clear if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation. Ironically, the same week that the GOP unsuccessfully tried to pass massive cuts in Medicaid (how many lives would that have impacted?), Tom Delay and friends are preening for the camera in an attempt to keep Ms. Schiavo alive, and score a few political points. But let’s examine this issue as a hypothetical…and set up a situation to speculate how the GOP leaders, so eager to ‘help’ would respond.

Imagine if Ms. Shiavo wasn’t married, but rather had been in a 20 year relationship with another woman. Her partner, ‘Carol’ wanted to keep Terri alive. But, despite the fact that they were in a 20 year relationship, Carol and Terri, because they couldn’t marry or even be domestic partners, we legal strangers under the law. Carol’s wishes for Terri have no legal standing. Carol wants to keep Terri alive, but Terri’s parents, who have been appointed legal guardians (and haven’t spoken to Terri since she began the relationship with Carol) want to pull the feeding tube. “Her lifestyle was an abomination to God.� They tell Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America. Would Tom Delay stand up for Terri in that case? I’d love to know.

There are no easy decisions for Ms. Schiavo and her family. But the legal bonds of the marriage between Mr. Schiavo and his wife dictate that he has the power to decide the future course of her medical treatment. Congress intervening in such matters is not only repugnant to respecting the sanctity of that marital bond, it flies in the face of extending the federal government’s powers to the ultimate degree. What happened to protecting ‘traditional marriage?�….

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