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Posts published in “Day: September 1, 2009”

Culture war time

The speculation here (and elsewhere) has been that attitudes toward same-sex marriage have been changing considerably through this decade. When Washington's legislature passed its Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, that seemed like the clear majority-popular thing to do. When the legislature this spring passed the "everything but marriage" bill (Senate Bill 5688) to allow state-recognized same-sex partnerships, that was by then thought to represent a majority (if, obviously, far from universal) view. And now?

Well, now, we sort of get to find out where the public stands. Referendum 71, which would repeal the "everything but" law, was just declared ballot-qualified - it got barely enough signatures to clear the bar, just over the 120,000 or so signatures it needed. It was a close enough call that for the last couple of weeks the outcome was unclear.

That suggests the proponents have an uphill battle ahead of them. A little over two months, and Washington should be an interesting test of where the public stands now in this front of the culture wars.

Vouching for Kristof

Some skepticism of unnamed sources as the basis for news stories is understandable, and sometimes warranted. But in the case of Nicholas Kristof's Sunday New York Times column on health care - which revolves strongly around the story of a woman called "M" - we can personally vouch for the story. We happen to know personally the people in question, have followed this story for some time, and can affirm to you that Kristof got it right.

If you've not read the column yet (and please do), the story has to do with a woman and her husband who has progressive dementia and has begun racking up large medical bills, which are likely to get larger. As she sought out financial answers, the piece of advice offered her repeatedly and strongly was: Get a divorce. Fast. Her hospital told her that, and so did her lawyer.

They are certainly not the only married couple in this boat.

Remember that the next time you hear one of the irrationals talking about how America's health care is number one: We have such a wonderful health care system we're forcing happily married couples to divorce. We lead the whole rest of the world on that metric.