Television is a welcomed companion when trapped at home

A California court has decided that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Prop 8 states that marriage must be restricted to the union of one man and one woman, “as God intended.”

The pros or cons of this argument is not the subject of this column, but just for the record, throughout history and cultures the nature of marriage and the makeup of marriage has varied.

Since the majority of marriages seem to end in divorce or separation, I don’t see why the institution is so attractive, except to divorce lawyers, but I support those who wish to marry.

I listened to an exchange between the lawyers representing each side on the News Hour program and found it comical. The lawyer for those opposing Prop. 8 maintained that the proposition is aimed at depriving gays and lesbians of their constitutional rights. The lawyer supporting the ban against marriage for gays and lesbians argued that they were not being prejudicial against homosexuals because the ban also includes polygamy. He went on to say that marriage is rooted in the reproductive function, and they wanted to preserve that as the purpose of marriage. At this point no one was laughing but me. I do hope they use this argument if the case goes to the Supreme Court of the U.S. Surely one of the justices will notice.

If reproduction is their argument, then they certainly should not ban polygamy because one man with several wives can make a lot more babies over time than one man with only one wife. Instead, they should ban older couples who have no intention (and possibly no ability) to have children and even young couples who don’t intend to have children.

And now we have the Catholic dignitaries declaring that President Obama has “declared war on the Catholic Church,” for expecting Catholic institutions that employ non-Catholics to have insurance that offers women with contraceptives and even the morning-after pill without a co-pay. They are charging the government with forcing a religion to commit an act against its tenets, a no no according to the Constitution. A couple dozen states already have that rule but now it is a serious matter.

Like the supporters of Proposition 8, the Catholic Church is a champion of reproduction in spite of the practice of a majority of its female parishioners. We won’t go into that. But now is a good time for yet another lawyer to enter the fray. He would represent the Mormon sects that practice polygamy as part of their religious beliefs. If the government cannot make a church go against its beliefs, then it should stop going after polygamous families.

These are the earth shaking problems the U.S. is facing while countries in the European Union are freezing over as they struggle to agree, and people are being killed in the Middle East.

Lately I have been watching more TV than usual and getting an idea of what it feels like to be under house arrest. The elevator in my building is not working, and has not worked for seven days and counting. I am on the fifth floor and, thanks to a medical exam gone awry, I no longer can climb four flights of stairs without great difficulty. I don’t think I can climb them even with great difficulty. This has meant that I have missed all of the wonderful – and free – cultural activities going on in San José, including going to the art exhibit at the National Museum of Art with the Newcomers Club.

So I am reduced to giving in to my addiction to politics. Costa Rican politics don’t interest me as much, partly because my Spanish is not that fluent and partly because I always think of Gilbert and Sullivan when I think of Costa Rican politics.

The fact is, Costa Rica is a small country with far fewer people. Even though there is variety among the people, the different ideologies are not that rigid. Quedar bien and Pura Vida override. Everything is more manageable here. Indeed, small is beautiful, and certainly more agreeable.

However, speaking of lawyers, if this elevator is not fixed soon, I am going to need one.

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