Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Newsflash: Faking Cancer Not a Good Fundraising Strategy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

This is Jessica Vega on her wedding day.

Her story was a sad one. A young mother with terminal leukemia dreamed of a fairy tale wedding to the father of her child. It was the one thing she wished for.

Everybody wanted to help, and help they did with a twelve hundred dollar wedding gown, a honeymoon in Aruba, rings, flowers, and all the trimmings.

That was in 2010.

This is Vega now, upon being arraigned in New York on charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud. She has been extradited to California to face those charges.

You see, the one problem with Vega’s funding of her dream wedding is that it was based on a lie. She is not now and has never been dying of cancer.

The scheme was exposed when husband Michael O’Connell contacted Vega’s doctor to ask some questions about her treatment, only to learn that the doctor was not treating her at all. O’Connell left Vega and broke the story to the Times-Herald Record. He filed for divorce.

Strangely enough, though, the couple has since reunited and had a second child. Why? Because O’Connell wants his kids to grow up with their mother.

We’ll see how that works out for them.

Oh, and Mr. O’Connell? You might want to start any wedding funds now so history doesn’t repeat itself.

No Wedding Rings for Olympians

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

When athletes, trainers, coaches, and other support staff head off to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, their visas will have an unusual clause: during their stay in the UK, they will not be allowed to marry.

They also will not be allowed to enter into civil partnerships, take any other work, apply for study visas… pretty much anything that might lead to them spending more than six months in the country.

Oh, and they also have to prove before entering the country that they have the funding to carry them through their entire stays.

According to The Daily Mail, this is to prevent illegal immigrants and terrorists from gaining access to the country… because so many Olympic committees go out of their way to bring athletes who won’t be coming back and are likely to bomb their host nation. Seems to me that every Olympic Games has ended with mass defections and huge terrorist acts on the part of visiting athletes and their coaches… except that I don’t recall that happening even once in my lifetime.

Yes, terrorist acts have been committed during the Olympics. I was watching when the news of the kidnapping and murder of eleven members of the Israeli team during the 1972 Munich Games was announced, and who could forget the bombing of Centennial Park during the 1996 Games?

The funny thing both these events have in common? They weren’t carried out by anyone directly involved in the Olympic Games.

As for tidal waves of green card weddings… yeah, haven’t heard about those, either.

Talk about overreacting.

Are there athletes and support staff going to the Olympics who would love a good reason to stay longer in Great Britain? Probably. I’m sure that there’s someone in some team who would love to come back and put down roots in their host country every Olympics. With that many people coming to one place, the chances are high that at least one of them has always dreamed of spending six months there looking for a reason not to go home again.

Somehow, though, I doubt that most of the people going intend to marry a citizen and live off the dole or have any plans to blow stuff up.

It simply doesn’t happen.

PS: There’s still time to enter the contest for a free tiara courtesy of USABride! I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow, so hurry and get your entry in!

Washington State Says Yea To Marriage Equality

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Yesterday in a vote of 55 to 43, the Washington State House passed a bill to legalize same sex marriages. The Senate approved the measure last week, and Governor Chris Gregoire is expected to sign it into law as soon as it hits his desk.

In fact, Gregoire issued a statement after the vote that it is:

“a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

It was passed without proposed amendments that would have allowed bakers and photographers a waiver from providing services to same sex couples due to religious belief, such as are granted to churches. Since the last time I heard, bakers weren’t churches, I think this is only right and fair. After all, in my bookselling days I had to sell books to people who were homophobic, racist, sexist, and all kinds of other things I find wildly offensive. As long as they weren’t breaking the law or strongly disrupting the business I was engaged in, I had to serve them to the best of my ability. I didn’t have to enjoy it, but I had to do it.

The new law is scheduled to go into effect ninety days after the end of the session next month, but opponents are already working to put a measure on the next ballot that would negate this vote.

Still, this signals a major turnaround in state marriage politics since the state legislature passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1998. While the state Supreme Court upheld the act in 2006, it was overturned that same year by a gay civil rights measure. In 2007, a domestic partnership law was passed which the voters upheld.

Washington state legislature, I salute you! And may the voters of your state be more fair-minded and less paranoid than the ones in mine.

Breaking News: 9th Circuit Court Strikes Down Prop 8!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

In a 2 to 1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court has declared Proposition 8 a violation of the rights of gay Californians.

In his write up of the decision, Judge Reinhardt wrote:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”

Reinhardt was quick to say that this decision is only about this issue in this state, but the court’s decision that denying same sex couples the right to marry violates their rights as human beings and as citizens could well add weight to the case for marriage equality when it comes before the Supreme Court.

Sometimes justice is slow, but I firmly believe it will come for all of us. Today, I got another proof that my faith is justified. It is my fond hope that California will rejoin the ranks of those who offer full rights to all its citizens soon.

Is a Pre-nup for you?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Some people consider it simple good planning, others proof that you expect your marriage to fail. It’s the pre-nuptial contract, and it remains controversial.

Look, I think it’s a really bad idea to go into your marriage thinking too hard about how you’re going to get out of it. That’s a red flag that all is not well in Weddingland. Still, there are times when a pre-nup is a prudent step to take.

Does it have a place in your life? Let’s take a look and see.


Monday, November 7th, 2011

Every once in a while in the wild and wooly world of weddings, a story comes along to which I can only respond with a hearty “and what was this person smoking, I wonder?”.

One of these stories is that of Todd Remis and his attempt to sue the living daylights out of his wedding photographer.

It seems that when Mr. Remis married his blushing bride in 2003, the photographer on the scene from H&H photography studio failed to capture the final fifteen minutes of the reception, including the bouquet toss and the last dance. Mr. Remis was also disappointed to find that the videotape of the six-hour event was only two hours long.

Okay, missing the bouquet toss – while it probably wouldn’t make me lose eight years of sleep – was a mistake. But the last dance is hardly an iconic wedding moment in most peoples’ lives, and believe me, six hours of every sneeze and electric slide is more than the most hardy of home movie viewers usually wants to see of even their own wedding. I would have advised Mr. Remis to tell all his friends he didn’t think H&H did a good job and leave it alone after that.

But Mr. Remis seems ill-acquainted with the art of Letting Stuff Go. He’s demanding that H&H restage his entire wedding at a cost of some $48,000 and bring all the principals together again so that they can capture those precious fifteen minutes… never mind that the marriage ended in divorce in 2009. Incidentally, that’s also the year he got around to filing his lawsuit citing among other things ‘infliction of emotional distress.’ He also claims that the photographs were ‘unacceptable’ in terms of lighting, color, poses, and – I don’t know – flavor?

Among the many fine reasons this seems unlikely to be a practical plan is the fact that Mr. Remis’ ex-wife has apparently returned to her native Latvia leaving no forwarding address.

The judge in the case – Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan – is allowing the breach of contract part of the lawsuit to go forward, but has dismissed much of the rest of it, including the emotional distress claim. She even went so far as to quote the title song from the film The Way We Were in mentioning her suspicion that Mr. Remis’ motives may have more to do with his ‘misty water-colored memories’ of his erstwhile marriage than his satisfaction or lack thereof with the services of H&H photography studio.

Mr. Remis, please. Your marriage is over. Your wife left the country. For the sake of your own sanity, if no other reason, just drop it.

‘Til the End of the Contract Do Us Part

Friday, September 30th, 2011

‘Til death do us part.

That’s the vow, right? That you’ll stay together until one or the other of you dies?

We all know couples who haven’t managed that one. Heck, I’m the second Mrs. Twistie! His first marriage didn’t end with a death, but with divorce. Some of you have talked in comments about previous marriages. Right now, I happen to be doing a lot of hand-holding for a very good friend who decided to call her marriage quits after ten years because she has never been happy in it.

I swore ’til death do us part, and I fully intend to honor that vow. But I completely get that not every relationship is going to work out that way. And so I was intrigued with the fact that Mexico City has a proposal currently on the table for temporary marriages.

The proposed temporary marriage would have a two-year minimum term, at the end of which couples would have the option to either extend the contract or dissolve the marriage without the legal hassles of a divorce. The marriage would simply end.