Monday, July 16, 2007

The Law of Unintended Consequences

You've all heard about the law of unintended consequences, no doubt ... in Iraq (see above); in easy money (see above); in that bitter little motto "No good deed goes unpunished"; and so on.

If I had my life to live over again, I think I'd be a lawyer, cause I just love the crash between human reality and the attempts to make it fit rules.

Lately the case of the will of Tom Watson, Jr. of IBM fame and fortune has caught my eye, and my imagination. The massive fortune of Tom Watsons Sr. and Jr. passed to Jrs. widow upon his death, and upon her death was intended to be divided into trusts for their 18 grandchildren, as I understand it.

However, one of TW Jrs. daughters, OW, a lesbian, was partnered for years and that partner, had, she says, and I have no reason to doubt this, given up her own career in order to live in her partnership. But she then feared what might happen to her if OW were to be, say, killed in an accident.

And all these good people who have fought against gay marriage, or even civil partnerships for decades, centuries, then indirectly brought about what happened next.

There being no way to be civil partners, and certainly not married, at the time, OW did what many gay couples were doing at the time - she legally adopted her partner.

Trouble was, they broke up within a year. But upon the death of TW Jrs. widow, as the money was about to be divided among grand-children, this adopted "child" of OW said, hey, I'm a grandchild too!

It's all in the courts in two states, and still there, as far as I can find out. To further complicate matters, OW has now repartnered, and she and her new partner have adopted two little boys, who are counted among the grand-children.

Oh, man, there are enough unintended consequences in this story to make a lot of lawyers very rich, sadly. The people who ought to pay are, perhaps, those who have prevented the simple civil rights and acts available without a second thought to all the rest of us who happen to be wired differently.

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