Thursday, September 23, 2004

Family vs. Spousal Rights

It has been a while since the news carried the story of Terri Schiavo. The most recent development is that the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the law hurriedly past to prevent Terri's husband from removing her feeding tube was a violation of constitutionally serparated powers.

This is a tough case. It comes down, in my opinion, on who possesses the right to speak for Terri, her family or her husband. I, writing in a general all-other-things-being-equal sense, believe that the spouse's power to to speak for the person trumps the person's parents. It rests on the fact that one may choose, and choose to keep, a spouse, while one can not do so with one's family.

One of my questions that never seems to get answered in the Definition of Marriage debate is just what is the definition of marriage? To say that marriage is the union of one man and one woman is like leaving the definition of basketball as a game between two teams of five players. My argument comes back to the Schiavo case in that I define marriage as the granting of rights over oneself to another person in return for rights over that person. The fundamental right that the Schiavo case brings up is the right for the spouse to speak for the person when he/she can not do so for him/herself.

No comments: