Feb 082005
 

For several years now, there has been a case on-going in Florida Courts and the state legislature that is, on its face, a case about the right to die and end-of-life decisions. However, it has occurred to me, this is a prime example of the Republican?s hypocrisy over marriage and a number of the moral issues of today.

Some years ago a young lady named Teri Schivo suffered a severe heart attack and complications that resulted in her being in a constant vegetative state. She is married. Once the prognosis was clear that there was no chance of her recovery, her husband stated they had conversations in which his wife had expressed her desire to have her life terminated in such a situation. She had not executed a living will or healthcare power of attorney documents to clarify her wishes.

Her parents came forward and protested that Teri?s strong religious principles would prevent her from having any such desire. They have aggressively fought Teri?s husband, Michael, in court for years now to prevent the removal of Teri?s feeding tube.

The parents, having failed at nearly every turn in the courts, then used their political influence (having been contributors to Governor Jeb Bush?s campaign) to seek redress in through the state legislature. Thus, ?Teri?s Law? was born. This law sought to empower the Governor to intercede in this, and other, end of life decisions and claim a state interest in protecting this life.

Given the Florida Legislature recent passing of a ?marriage restriction? law, this points out a very serious and obvious hypocrisy. In the Schivo case, a husband was making lawful decisions (as codified in existing Florida law establishing the responsibilities of ?next of kin? and giving the spouse paramount authority) about his wife?s medical care and end-of-life desires. This is about the most intimate moments between a married couple.

The Florida legislature, when passing their recent laws declaring marriage as between a man and a woman, spoke about protecting the sanctity of marriage, yet they were quick to intervene in that relationship, when requested to do so by a politically connected family. Most of them, the Governor included, have claimed part of basis for their need to define marriage as heterosexual only include religious beliefs and traditions as well. Here again, their hypocrisy is rampant. In the religious tradition, a man and woman leave their own families to form their own.

The Republicans have always claimed to be the party of lesser government, and demanded that government leave the smallest footprint on people?s lives. Governor Jeb?s brother, George, is always talking about smaller government, and letting families make their own decisions. Yet here are the Republicans, inserting themselves directly into the most important part of the lives of a married couple.

When does it end?

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