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Did you ever wish you had a rich uncle?  Well, I once did.  Unfortunately, because he was straight, he married a woman, and they had two children.  So, even when I was just a lad, some sixty years ago, I knew I would never see a cent of that money:  when he died, it would go to his wife; and should she predecease him, his children would naturally get it all.

As a result, when I received a call from a genealogist about ten years ago, saying that a mysterious relative of mine had died, and that I might be entitled to a part of the estate, the thought of my uncle and his millions never crossed my mind.  Instead, I was waiting for the man on the other end of the line to get to the part where this mysterious relative had been a Nigerian prince, and that for a few thousand dollars, I could clear away one or two legal obstacles standing between me and a large fortune.  Much to my surprise, he asked for no upfront money.  Instead, he was willing to disclose the name this relative, and pursue the inheritance for me, for one third of whatever I got.

My girlfriend thought that I should find out who this relative was on my own, and cut this interloper out completely.  But that would have required effort on my part.  Besides, by letting him have a third, I knew he would be motivated to get as much for me as he could.  I believe it pays to be generous with one’s associates.  So I signed the contract, and sat back and waited for results.

It turned out that he had also contacted three of my cousins with the same deal, and so we all signed the same agreement.  Now, I wondered why two of my other cousins, William and Sandra, were not included in the deal.  I started to mention them, but then it occurred to me that this might entitle them to an equal share, and whatever the inheritance was, I knew it would go further split four ways than six.  Besides, I said to myself, their father, the above-mentioned rich uncle, would be leaving them a lot of money anyway, so why bother them with more?  So anxious was I to suppress the thought of those two undeserving cousins that it prevented me from realizing that one of them might be the mysterious relative in question.

As it happened, my uncle and aunt had died some years back, unbeknownst to me (as you can see, we weren’t close), and that somewhere along the way my cousin William had died as well, the entire fortune going to Sandra.  I had only met Sandra once, for a couple of minutes, after which she excused herself and went to her room.  Consequently, I did not know much about her.  And one of the things I did not know was that she was a lesbian.  From what I could piece together from various sources, she had fallen in love with a woman named Betty.  Since there was no same-sex marriage at this time, Betty would have had no legal right to any of Sandra’s money in the event of her death.  To rectify this deficiency, Sandra made out a will, leaving everything to Betty. As so often happens, the glow of love faded away, and they started getting on each other’s nerves, leading to a breakup.  Soon after that, Sandra fell in love with a woman named Caroline, and soon after that a new will was drawn up, exactly like the first, mutatis mutandis.

When Sandra died, Caroline took it hard, but Betty took it harder.  There she was with a will in her possession, leaving her all of Sandra’s money, which, had the affair lasted just a little longer, would now be hers.  Sandra had spent most of it along the way, but there was still about two million dollars left, and Betty could not sleep for thinking about what had slipped away.  Convinced that this prior will must be worth something, she hired a lawyer to contest the will that left everything to Caroline.  Caroline was unmoved.  As she saw it, she had the more recent will, and there was no need to let Betty have a dime.  Things bogged down, and Sandra’s estate was frozen, with neither Betty nor Caroline able to put her hands on any of it.

Betty’s lawyer got creative, and asked the above-mentioned genealogist to search for missing heirs, in hopes of further complicating the case, thereby forcing Caroline to be reasonable.  It worked.  He found four cousins, myself included, and through a lawyer associated with the genealogical agency, it was expressed that Sandra’s cousins were most distraught at her passing, were even more distraught at being cheated out of their rightful share of her estate, and were prepared to seek remedy before the court to see that justice was done.

Caroline was still of the opinion that the will left everything to her, and that was the end of it.  She did not appreciate some of the finer points of the law, which her lawyer was at pains to impress upon her.  With a trial by jury, he pointed out, anything might happen.  To put it crudely, they might wind up with several jurors who were of the persuasion that homosexuality was a sin, deserving more of punishment than reward, the result being that the money might all go to the cousins, and none to either Betty or Caroline.  “Pay the two dollars,” he advised her.  Well, make that two hundred thousand dollars, half to Betty, and the other half for the cousins.  Reason prevailed, and she made the deal.

None of this would have happened if same-sex marriage had been legal.  Sandra would have married and divorced Betty, who would have received some kind of settlement.  Then Sandra would have married Caroline, who would have inherited everything with far less fuss.  Any large estate stands a good chance of being contested, but a spouse with a will leaving her everything is hard to beat.  Same-sex marriage would have given first Betty, and then Caroline, the same established rights and financial security mostly taken for granted by opposite-sex couples.  And that is the way it should be.

In the absence of same-sex marriage, however, Betty and Caroline were left to fight it out in a less certain arena.  And the difficulties did not end with them, for they extended even to the cousins. As noted above, one hundred thousand dollars was granted to us four cousins to divide among ourselves, with the genealogist getting a third of each.  At least, that is what it would have meant, had not fate intervened once more.  One of my cousins died just one week before the deal was made.  I figured that meant her husband would get her share.  That is because, like Caroline, I did not appreciate some of the finer points of the law, which cut the husband out completely.  That meant $33,333.33 for each of the remaining three cousins, or $22,222.22 each, after the genealogist got his cut.

I felt bad for my cousin’s husband.  By all rights, he should have gotten his fair share.  The proper thing to do would be for me to give him a portion of my own inheritance, and to suggest to my other two cousins that they do the same.  But then it occurred to me that if I were going to give any of the money away, I should give all of my portion to Caroline.  After all, Sandra wanted Caroline, the woman she loved, to have her money, and not some indifferent cousins about whom she cared nothing.  As I could not resolve the question as to who was more deserving, my cousin’s husband or Caroline, I decided to keep the $22,222.22 until such time as my conscience should guide me to do the right thing.  Moral dilemmas can be notoriously problematic, and thus the issue remains unresolved to this day.

Originally posted to disinterested spectator on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It should go to Caroline (23+ / 0-)

    And I think you know this in your heart, otherwise you wouldn't have posted the diary. And you certainly wouldn't have posted it here.

    We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

    by Keith Pickering on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 06:46:49 PM PST

    •  I thought that part was rhetorical (15+ / 0-)

      The point being that gay people, not having access to civil marriage, are at a disadvantage financially and otherwise before the law, a situation that ought to be rectified.

      The part about the "moral dilemma" was a flourish, the sort which might be found in a work by Mark Twain, etc.

      Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson

      by FriendlyNeighbor on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 07:18:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're no Mark Twain. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III, Rieux
        •  More to the point, (7+ / 0-)

          neither is the diarist.

          Huckleberry Finn would have lost a fair portion of its punch if Twain had thrown in an epilogue: "Oh, by the way, down on my little homestead in a part of Missouri the Feds don't know about, we still have a few slaves of our own."

          •  No one is Mark Twain (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29

            Including Mark Twain who's been dead for 100 years. But the diary is written with a lot of wit and care and the author doesn't deserve to be sniped at. Are you really asking for a diary to match the standards of one of the most important works of American literature?

            •  If he seriously (3+ / 0-)

              intends to defend his moral ugliness by pleading "Mark Twain did it too!", you're damn right I am.

              I'm curious: do you think the diarist's previous work is "written with a lot of wit and care"? Such as, say, this gem?

              As Treasurer of the United States, Mrs. Rios (or would it be Mrs. Gumataotao?  I never could get the rule straight for Hispanic names) has heretofore had a boring job.  On her first day in office, she signed her name.  There has not been much for her to do ever since.  It is not easy being a token.  Because the position is a do-nothing job, women have been assigned to that post for over sixty years (no self-respecting man would take it).  Recently, this position has been made to do double-duty, since more often than not of late, the Treasurer has also been Hispanic (or would that be “Latina”?  I haven’t gotten the rule straight on that one either).  In any event, she helps the fill two quotas, which is very important right now, inasmuch as there has been a lot of talk lately about all the white males in Obama’s administration.

              So, she mostly sits around all day looking at her signature on Federal Reserve Notes, and wondering if there isn’t something else she might do to make herself useful.  Technically, she advises the Director of the Mint (“I think the new quarters should have a little more serration”) and the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (“Make sure my signature is just as large as that of the Secretary of the Treasury”).  Her degree in Romance languages comes in handy, just in case the Mint should misspell e pluribus unum, or the Bureau should misspell Annuit coeptis or Novus ordo seclorum, in which case she will be sure to catch it.  Mostly though, life goes on without her.

              But that may soon change.  If the president decides to have a trillion dollar coin minted, he will need to consult with her on this matter.  Much in the way the lion turned to the mouse to get a thorn removed from his paw, so too will the most powerful man on earth have to turn to the most useless bureaucrat in Washington to save the country from going into default.  When that day comes, it will be a much needed source of pride for women and Hispanics everywhere.

              Peachy, right? "Wit and care," don't you think?

              And then there's this evo-psych excretion:

              Natural Aversion

              Part of the problem begins with the word "homophobe," which, being based on the word "phobia," suggests fear.  But fear is not the emotion you experienced.  Rather, you felt revulsion.  And this was probably nature's way of directing you away from having sex with men, so that you will have sex with women, which is, from an evolutionary point of view, more likely to be reproductively successful.

              Some would claim that you are trying to repress your own homosexual tendencies.  In some sense, this is true.  If you had absolutely no tendency to have sex with a man, the feeling of revulsion would be unnecessary.  In other words, you would feel no revulsion at seeing a man kiss a tree, although it might strike you as pretty damn strange.  And that is because you have no tendency to have sex with a tree.  Nature does not need to steer you away from making love to an oak.

              The one thing in this world that looks most like a female is a male.  A tree does not look like a female, and so a male is not likely to want to have sex with it. So, nature did not need to take steps to prevent such activity.  No one ever looked at a tree and thought he saw a woman.  But everyone has had the experience of looking at a man and thinking it was a woman.  So, nature produces in most men a feeling a revulsion to counter this tendency to have sex with another man.

              Needless to say, this mechanism does not always work properly, and thus we have homosexuality.

              Witty, right? Careful, yes?

              Clearly everyone should heed your warnings and get off this poor diarist's back; clearly (s)he doesn't "deserve to be sniped at," because it's not as if his/her work, demonstrated up and down this comment section (including multiple links to the above two examples of hateful trash), demonstrates overt drooling bigotry. "Sniping" at that? Perish the thought!

              As an alternative hypothesis, would you entertain the possibility that you have fundamentally misread the diary we are all responding to, and that—as in numerous other things (s)he has posted, including comments on this very page—his/her poisonous hatred is laid out in that diary for the world to see?

              •  I wasn't aware of his (0+ / 0-)

                previous work here. It worthless, offensive drivel. I responded to your comment without having read the rest of the comments on the page. If I had I would have understood your comment was not meant literary criticism.

                Now if you want to continue to blow my head off, go right ahead.

                •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kyril
                  I wasn't aware of his previous work here. It worthless, offensive drivel.
                  I'm glad you see that.

                  My point is that if you re-read the diary, and especially its conclusion, you'd find (I hope) that it's little better.

                  •  Knowing the context of the writing (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril

                    I now think that the author isn't much interested in the moral dilemma, I think the author is telling an anecdote with a smirk on his face the point of which is no more than, Hey, gang, look at the lucky windfall I got.

                    It has some value but mainly as an illustration of human nature. I mean by that most people do what they can get away with. In a way it's to his credit he's aware of the moral question. On the other hand all his awareness leads to is a joke.

                    Moral dilemmas can be notoriously problematic, and thus the issue remains unresolved to this day.
                    This is meant as punchline and nothing more.
                •  As a P.S. (3+ / 0-)

                  (far more to issues that are discussed downthread than to you):

                  It's actually possible to read that nasty Treasurer diary as "irony," if one is willing to squint really hard with the aim of construing it as satirical. Surely such a reading strains credulity far beyond the breaking point, but I can just imagine someone claiming that that work is a parody of anti-Latina bigotry rather than the real thing.

                  Which suggests a worrisome way in which a right-wing fuck can fool (and, I fear, just has fooled) DKos admins into promoting a fundamentally hateful work on this website: cloak the hatred in a thin veneer of "literary irony." Do that, and it appears that some well-meaning Kossacks will stoop to defend it. (Again, that's not primarily referring to you.)

                  Another consequence is the plausible deniability that the diarist rode through several comments on this thread.

                  Ugly and troubling, IMO.

        •  If you were a more careful reader (0+ / 0-)

          you would have noted prior to delivering your zinger that I did not claim to be Mark Twain myself. Since you're not...

          Whatevs.

          Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson

          by FriendlyNeighbor on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:51:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            After reviewing this diarist's previous work (and his/her response to inquiries on this thread), do you still think the anti-gay conclusion to the diary is a defensible resort to Twain-ish irony—rather than, for example, a basically accurate admission of homophobic bigotry?

            Which is to say: given the larger context of this person's output, do you still think that the above ending is "rhetorical," such that the diary is unobjectionable?

            •  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, AllisonInSeattle

              And thank you for your non-inflammatory comment.

              I plead guilty to putting the most charitable spin on the diarist's work.

              I am unfamiliar with the diarist's previous work, however, if the diarist claims that the story is true and not a humorous exaggeration, then from his/her own mouth he/she is condemned and I withdraw my previous charitable reading.

              I apologize to all who were confused or bothered by my overgenerous assumptions.

              Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson

              by FriendlyNeighbor on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:38:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Moral dilemma (9+ / 0-)

        Stealing a widow's inheritance isn't a moral delimma.  

        Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

        by lostboyjim on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:24:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't that the point? (5+ / 0-)

          She isn't a "widow", and the Diarist was clear that she should have been.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:25:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not by the languaged used in the post IMO (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lost and Found, kyril
            the Diarist was clear that she should have been.

            "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

            by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:40:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  He still took her money, didn't he? (6+ / 0-)

            Isn't that the point?

            "It's clear that morally and ethically you should have this sweet, sweet, cash.  But I'm still going to take it because I legally can."

            Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

            by lostboyjim on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:46:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes he did. Not something I would support (7+ / 0-)

              There is a "but".

              My take from the piece was the stark message that we need full marriage equality, and we need it now.

              As for the machinations of family inheritance, long lost cousins, large inheritances and an ambulance chasing, smooth talking attorney ..... well.

              That is a moral issue for the Diarist, but not the point of the Diary.

              Anyway, that was simply my take on it.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:49:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not the point? (10+ / 0-)

                "Yes, with the help of a homophobic legal system, I've just bilked a grieving widow out of twenty-two thousand dollars that her dead wife left her. Now let me lecture you about the need for legal changes to prevent people like me from doing what I just did."

                How exactly does that "moral issue" not debase the entire diary?

                •  Well it's not helping (6+ / 0-)

                  to use words like "bilked", even though I get the substance.

                  The point is that he could legally do what he legally did. As I have said, there are all sorts of moral issues with that, but the issue for us is that it could be done.

                  I wasn't there when the attorney made his pitch, so I have no way of knowing how that went down. What is clear is that the Diarist knows that it was wrong.

                  The substantive issue remains the fact that we need to put a final end to this kind of thing, and we need to do it very quickly, much as the President said in his Inaugural Address.

                  If the Diary was written to serve that point, it did so very well and the "immorality" of the Diarist .... That just serves to underline the point.

                  I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                  but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                  Who is twigg?

                  by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:02:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ech. (5+ / 0-)

                    bilk:

                    1. a. To defraud, cheat, or swindle: made millions bilking wealthy clients on art sales.
                    b. To evade payment of: bilk one's debts.
                    2. To thwart or frustrate: "Fate . . . may be to a certain extent bilked" (Thomas Carlyle).
                    3. To elude.
                    I think I'll stand by that one.
                    The point is that he could legally do what he legally did.
                    There are all kinds of ways in which it is legal to severely abuse GLBTs and other minorities who are widely despised in this country. I can't say that I agree that the most salient "point" about a diary in which a Kossack fairly brags about having taken advantage of a homophobic legal system to steal $22,000 from a grieving lesbian widow is the legal niceties of the matter.
                    As I have said, there are all sorts of moral issues with that....
                    And as I have implied but am now stating outright, pretending that abstract philosophizing is somehow more important and worthy of note than those "moral issues" are is morally suspect in itself. This diarist has openly and unapologetically confessed to an act that is flatly an outrage, and you are clearly not terribly outraged. WTF?

                    This is not an airy soapbox hypothetical about The Serious Legal Issues Posed By Marriage Inequality. It's the story of a major real-life theft, told by one of the thieves. Please wake up.

                    What is clear is that the Diarist knows that it was wrong.
                    No, I've already explained why that's incorrect. If the diarist knew that what (s)he did was wrong, (s)he would give the money to Caroline. (S)he has in fact not given the money to Caroline. Ergo it is not clear "that the Diarist knows that it was wrong."

                    You're working awfully hard to absolve (or excuse your disinterest in noticing the ugliness of) a person who has openly stolen thousands of dollars from a widow's bequest.

                    If the Diary was written to serve that point, it did so very well....
                    The hell it did. If the diarist thinks that what happened to Caroline was so damned unjust that we should take legal action to prevent it from happening again, why TF has (s)he not lifted a finger to ensure that it didn't happen, insofar as the diarist can prevent it, right here?

                    As a result, "the 'immorality' of the Diarist" (and you can kindly stick those scare-quotes up your rear end) in fact directly undermines the point you would prefer to believe (s)he was making.

                    •  If this is what you think: (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mrkvica, Purple Priestess
                      You're working awfully hard to absolve (or excuse your disinterest in noticing the ugliness of) a person who has openly stolen thousands of dollars from a widow's bequest.
                      As a result, "the 'immorality' of the Diarist" (and you can kindly stick those scare-quotes up your rear end) in fact directly undermines the point you would prefer to believe (s)he was making.
                      Then you are simply blinded by your own view, and not listening.

                      Please show me the "theft" of which you speak. There was none, there was the application of existing law, and you are doing a dis-service to the LGBT community if you simply refuse to stand back and discuss the issues accurately.

                      You are doing nothing, by your persistent personal attacks on me, to demonstrate any other than your own inability to form an argument we can work with.

                      Do you think our opponents give a flying fuck for morality. Get down off that high horse, before you fall, and construct something that prevents this from happening, rather than simply railing against something you cannot hope to control.

                      We are done here.

                      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                      Who is twigg?

                      by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:37:14 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the theft is a moral one. (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Lost and Found, Renee, cai, kyril

                        I'll refrain from commenting further.

                        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                        by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:59:57 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh? (4+ / 0-)
                        Please show me the "theft" of which you speak.
                        The diarist took more than $22,000 that rightfully belonged to Caroline and pocketed it for him/herself. That's theft. It isn't legally theft because the shakedown that was employed in the diarist's favor was based on the legal system's bigotry against GLBT people, but it is theft nonetheless.

                        Theft is not merely a legal category. Intent as you are on denying this, it's a moral category as well.

                        Have you noticed that your attempt at a debater's point ("it's not legally theft!") is founded on homophobia in just the same way that—though, thankfully, much more abstractly than—the $22K theft itself is? Homophobic law allows (1) the diarist to steal twenty-two grand and (2) you to think you can win this debater's point. Both efforts are seriously ugly.

                        ...there was the application of existing law....
                        Oh, well, that excuses everything! How can "the application of existing law" ever result in innocent people being bilked out of property that they own?

                        Given that it is unanimously agreed that the law, in this instance, is unjust, how in the world can you seriously appeal to that very body of law as justification for anything you or the diarist are saying? It's mindblowing.

                        Do you think our opponents give a flying fuck for morality.
                        "Our opponents"? What "our", pray tell, would that be?

                        We are here discussing an episode that amounts to a blatant and not even disputed use of homophobia as a weapon to steal $22,000 from an innocent lesbian widow. Charged with taking that seriously, you have made excuses for the diarist, attempted to distract attention from the seriousness of what (s)he did, and now argued that the taking does not constitute theft. To the extent that the phrase "our opponents" is supposed to refer to homophobes and those who aid and abet them, why exactly should one not conclude, in light of your refusal to deal squarely with this incident, that that phrase includes you?

                        construct something that prevents this from happening....
                        Why do you think that providing excuses for people like the diarist does anything "construct"ive at all?

                        I'm communicating well-deserved scorn both for homophobia profiteers like the diarist and apologists like you. Creating a social discourse in which neither part of that is accepted seems rather constructive, actually.

                        •  Using their logic (5+ / 0-)

                          the Jews never had their property stolen by the Nazi's. Since it was legal.

                          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                          by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:47:45 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I will report this. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Susan from 29, Purple Priestess

                          Accusations of homophobia are bannable.

                          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                          Who is twigg?

                          by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:01:24 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  You go too far. (6+ / 0-)

                          Creating a social discourse in which ANY discussion other than virulent and unmitigated condemnation is equally virulently condemned, is too extreme.  We need room to canvass the nuances of any given topic, and your over-the-top personalizing is acting to prevent that.  I think you should disagree more civilly.  No one here is ADVOCATING robbing widows and orphans.  

                          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                          by lgmcp on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:03:05 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lgmcp, kyril

                            I'm happy to countenance less-vituperative criticism of the diarist. But that's not what twigg provided. Instead, (s)he did little but distract, deflect, and dismiss whenever the central moral point came up. (S)he brooked no criticism at all, but instead provided a mere hand-waving reference to how said central point was "a moral issue" for the diarist. That, I submit, is objectionable, if less so than the diary itself.

                            Greeting the diary with quiet opprobrium rather than hot scorn seems to me perfectly acceptable... though, in this particular case (and especially in light of this diarist's bigoted history), it seems to me necessary for someone to provide the latter. Happily, a meaningful number of us in this comment section have done so.

                        •  But what about Betty? You know, the one with (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lgmcp, twigg, Purple Priestess, elfling

                          whom Sandy spent so much of her life. If this had been a legally recognized marriage, she would have received a settlement at the time of the dissolution. But same sex marriage was not legal, she got nothing.

                          It was Betty who instigated the challenge to the will. The diarist (I am going to assume for the sake of discussion that the situation was, as presented, accurate although just having completed the probate of my husband's estate, I do doubt the entire story) was one of four possible heirs.

                          It is the absence of legally recognized same sex marriage that allows the entire question to arise. Perhaps that is where the focus should be instead of making this all about finding homophobia where there is only a difference of opinion.

                          Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

                          by Susan Grigsby on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:56:53 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Er, (3+ / 0-)

                            Betty and Caroline themselves may be engaged in "a difference of opinion"—though I'm sure they, like any ex-spouse and widow(er) disputing an inheritance, experience it somewhat differently than that. To whatever extent Betty can legally demonstrate that her claims to the estate are superior to Caroline's, I certainly have no objection to them; I think we can be rather confident that "Caroline should get nothing because she's a scummy lesbian" is not Betty's argument.

                            The diarist, his cousin, and their representatives are in no such innocent position. They are well aware that the only reason they stand to get anything is because Caroline (like, for that matter, Betty) has an entirely reasonable fear of being denied every penny of the estate because of a homophobic legal system. In that context, the diarist (especially in recent comments) has openly sneered that (s)he feels no compunction about pocketing the money that one or the other of the deceased's partners is very obviously entitled to.

                            This diary details a major social problem that has been inflicted by marriage inequality. The diarist—who has a DKos history of horrific racism and homophobic pseudoscience—is laughing about that problem all the way to the bank. That's not "a difference of opinion," it's a sneering homophobic fact.

                          •  I really think that if you are so persuaded of the (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            vcmvo2, twigg, Purple Priestess, elfling

                            problems this diarist presents you should report it to the admins instead of calling other posters homophobic.

                            If you feel he is a troll you should definitely report him.

                            But that does not automatically make people who disagree with your position homophobic. Regardless of the intent of the diarist, the diary does discuss an issue that needs to be addressed.

                            Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

                            by Susan Grigsby on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:36:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kyril
                            you should report it to the admins....
                            I did do a bit to assist cai's attempt to file such a report. At this point, alas, the report appears to have been to no avail.
                            ...instead of calling other posters homophobic.
                            Despite twigg's declaration to that end, I did not call him/her homophobic, nor do I believe (s)he is. (The diarist is another story.) Instead, my criticism of twigg referenced "homophobes and those who aid and abet them":
                            To the extent that the phrase "our opponents" is supposed to refer to homophobes and those who aid and abet them, why exactly should one not conclude, in light of your refusal to deal squarely with this incident, that that phrase includes you?
                            And I stand by that. I submit that twigg's continual attempts to deflect attention and criticism of the diarist's misconduct aided and abetted homophobia; they are therefore themselves blameworthy and are proper targets of criticism.
                            But that does not automatically make people who disagree with your position homophobic.
                            Of course not. Nonetheless, it is objectionable to throw chaff (e.g., "That is a moral issue for the Diarist, but not the point of the Diary") into the air in an attempt to obstruct criticism of instances of homophobia such as this diary—even if the chaff-thrower isn't him/herself homophobic. twigg's work here was a defense of the diary, and it was notably unwarranted.
                          •  It is the aid and abet homophobes part (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rieux

                            that allows the homophobia to prosper because when we point something out as homophobic instead of reassessing the values therein they close ranks.

                            "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                            by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:04:48 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  "Clear"? (10+ / 0-)

            What part of pocketing $22 grand that belongs to that widow "clear"ly communicates the diarist's recognition of the legitimacy of her claim?

            The diarist is weeping over the need for legal same-sex marriage... all the way to the bank. It's nauseating.

            •  I thought he had asked (3+ / 0-)

              for advice on what to do with the money.

              He seems to have got some ... give it back.

              I have no idea if he is weeping or not, but he wrote the Diary so he clearly isn't happy with the outcome.

              Also ... None of us knows whether this story is even true.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:13:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  ? (4+ / 0-)
                I thought he had asked for advice on what to do with the money.
                Really? Where? There's no such request in the diary.
                I have no idea if he is weeping or not, but he wrote the Diary so he clearly isn't happy with the outcome.
                And the whole point of the facetious construction "weeping (or laughing) all the way to the bank" is to dispute the value of any such claimed emotion, in light of the fact that the diarist is twenty-two grand richer. It's hard to take that play for sympathy seriously, though (sigh) it appears you are.
                None of us knows whether this story is even true.
                The diarist has been asked that question in this comment thread, and (s)he has answered that "The story is true."

                You seem to be dancing around a bit. Nonetheless, the moral demands on us audience members aren't an enormous amount more ambiguous than the demands on someone in the diarist's position. (S)he has a blatant moral obligation to give the money to Caroline, and we have a nearly-as-blatant obligation to communicate outrage and shame when (s)he doesn't. The third level isn't all that murky, either.

      •  I think this is all fiction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux

        Seriously, "Betty" and "Caroline"?  It's like when Andrew, Bob, and Charles are battling over title to Whiteacre, which borders Blackacre.  It's a law school essay question.

        I won't speculate as to the author's motives, but I do not believe this recounts true events.

        Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

        by milton333 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 09:19:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I changed the names (0+ / 0-)

          Whenever I write a diary about something that really happened, I always change the names.  I try to pick names that are sufficiently dissimilar to avoid confusion, and that are not ambiguous as to gender.  And, more for variety than anything else, I try to avoid using names that I have already used in previous stories.  It did not occur to me that using names that have alphabetically sequential initials would give the story an artificial flavor, like a “law school essay.”  I will avoid that mistake in the future.

          Other than that, the story is true.  Only the part about my being in a moral quandary as to what to do with the money was facetious.

    •  Nice to see the moral choice represented. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, cai, mrkvica

      This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

      by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:25:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it depends (7+ / 0-)

    You have it in your gift to ease the burdens of someone.

    Who needs it most?

    That's probably the way I would be thinking.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 07:05:21 PM PST

  •  I just inherited (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai

    from my great great grandmother.

    Not as much money as you.

    But more than I ever expected.

  •  Not so hard (14+ / 0-)

    First of all, Sandra's last will should have been followed. As soon as you became aware of what was going on, you and your cousins should have withdrawn.

    Having decided to proceed with the plan, I suppose the question becomes: Is there honor among thieves? If there is, you should give part of your share to the husband.

    (I do note that Caroline received 1.8 million dollars, minus lawyer's fees, if I did the calculations correctly. So she will not suffer the loss of $200,000. However, this does not affect the moral calculations.)

  •  What about using (part of ?) the money to start a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cv lurking gf, Purple Priestess

    scholarship for a local LGBT student in Sandra's name? Or, in your name? You could even narrow the scholarship's focus: an LGBT student to study law, specifically estate planning. Think Sandra would approve?

    Thanks for sharing the story, and giving all of us another real life example on the subject of marriage equality.

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:50:38 AM PST

  •  I had (17+ / 0-)

    a rich (kinda) gay uncle who just passed. He had some rental homes, and I would go fix stuff for him, never asked for pay. He left me enough to pay ALL MY DEBTS and 12 acres in the boonies to go camp on, and plant a little garden.
    He set me FREE!!! R.I.P. Uncle, I love you -

  •  gets even more complicated (13+ / 0-)

    in North Carolina and Virginia, gay people can't even leave estates in their wills to each other.

    just a little bit bored.

    by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:53:41 AM PST

    •  clarify (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Anderson, lineatus, white blitz, kyril

      My lawyer in North Carolina never said anything about restrictions on my estate.  Can you clarify on this?  I am curious.

    •  That can't be right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      You can leave you property to whomever you choose in any state.  Doesn't mean someone couldn't contest it, but anyone can contest any will at any time.

      One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

      by AUBoy2007 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:27:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I swear it was a feature of both states' (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, white blitz, twigg, kyril

        marriage amendments. I will have to look this up in depth.

        just a little bit bored.

        by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:45:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know there was concern that NC's (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder, Wee Mama, kyril

          amendment was broad enough that challenges to a same-sex couple's will might be sustained and the will invalidated, and that might be true (but it might not be - really depends on a lot of things), but I think any discussion that the will wouldn't be enforced on its face in the absence of a challege was probably a bit too far over the line into fear-mongering over the amendment.  (All this, of course, dependent on the language of the amendment which I am looking up now.)

          One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

          by AUBoy2007 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:54:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  NC's language: (10+ / 0-)
            Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to duch contracts.
            This from a paper against the amendment:
            Based on the same legal rationale laid out in these opinions, if the N.C. Amendment passed, a court could construe enforcement of a will or trust in favor of an unmarried partner as state action. If it deemed the enforcement to be “recognition” of the domestic legal union, it could refuse to enforce the provision on the ground that enforcement is barred by the Amendment. Even if it did not conclude that the Amendment directly barred enforcement, it could refuse to enforce the will or trust on the ground that doing so would violate the state’s public policy...
             But that's a crazy reading without a specific challenge from an outside party.  Court's don't routinely ignore wills.  I don't believe they'll do so here.

            The following paragraph, however, I do believe is right:

            Even if courts ultimately do not void these provisions of wills and trusts, the passage of the Amendment could still unsettle North Carolina estate planning. The Amendment could create an atmosphere of uncertainty and suspicion regarding wills and trusts entered into by members of unmarried couples, which could result in these agreements being challenged in court. Estate planning documents entered into by unmarried couples are already sometimes challenged by disgruntled blood relatives of the individual executing the document. Even if a court ultimately were to uphold a challenged agreement, passage of the Amendment would increase the likelihood that the parties would have to contend with the painful prospect of a protracted lawsuit. Not only is this time-consuming and expensive, but it is inevitably an unwanted intrusion into one’s personal life at a particularly vulnerable time.
             That is very true.  Challenges by distruntled blood relatives are ripe under these schemes.

            One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

            by AUBoy2007 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:01:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Concur. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AUBoy2007, lgmcp

              I think you're correct on all points.

               - Rieux, Esq.

            •  thank you. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AUBoy2007

              that was what I was recalling, and what I remember about Virginia's amendment from long ago (almost 10 years now).

              just a little bit bored.

              by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:30:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Even disgruntled ones are a big threat -- see OP (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cai, white blitz, kyril
              That is very true.  Challenges by distruntled blood relatives are ripe under these schemes.
              Look at the diarist.  He wasn't disgruntled, he barely knew his estranged cousin. But that didn't stop him from pressing a lawsuit to get some of the cash, AND GETTING IT.  

              Now imagine a disgruntled relative with a chip on their shoulder that refused to settle and take their blood money.  They can lock a case up for years in a normal court.  This just makes it worse.

              Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

              by lostboyjim on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:38:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I had a friend who acquired a boyfriend (22+ / 0-)

    known of us really cared for, as he was rather snotty and stand-offish. Since he was a wealthy businessman our friend's lifestyle improved, while keeping his own, successful business going. It turned out the boyfriend had been informally disowned by his family due to his sexual orientation and that he had AIDS. We were polite to him, felt sorry but everyone felt he glommed onto our friend partially so he'd have someone to take care of him as he got sicker. They were together almost five years, the boyfriend getting progressively worse, our friend seen less and less as he rushed from work to home, caring for his lover. One day he came home to a mess. The man had killed himself, and our friend dealt with that too, and we finally recognized the depth of his love, how our nasty feelings about this man affected him, and rallied 'round him.

    The boyfriend, in a will, left everything to our friend. Our friend, being a decent sort, had notified the family of the death despite there being no communication over fifteen or more years. Guess what - the family came after the estate. I am relieved to say my friend got everything, but he was forced to mourn his loss and fight them legally for almost as long as the relationship lasted. Twenty years later, I'd say my friend was scarred and has never been quite the same.

    "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

    by cv lurking gf on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:48:23 AM PST

  •  Oh those poor straight people (8+ / 0-)

    This entire post os offensive to LGBT's .

    I would say I'm amazed it got reposted but that is CS for you.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:49:24 AM PST

  •  You just posted a diary about how (14+ / 0-)

    you got to personally take advantage of marriage inequality, without any real remorse or indication that you understand that this money really doesn't belong to you.  I'm shocked this is being recc'ed.  

  •  Great story of how LGBTs go to great lengths (15+ / 0-)

    to protect what we have built as a family through wills and trusts, only to have judgmental and greedy people who feel they have a right to the inheritance undo all of the effort.  

    The efforts we must take are very expensive in the first place, and then have to defend our intentions and desires because we're LGBT is bullshit.  

    You have wasted $33,333.33 of Caroline's money trying to prove your moral superiority through greedy actions.

    That money is hers.  PERIOD.

    To even have a discussion about this is insulting.  

    "teh gay" wishes are just as valuable as the straight ones.  How someone can intervene and destroy her dying wish is beyond me.

    Give her the money... moral dilemma solved... and then beg her forgiveness.

    Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

    by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:14:09 AM PST

  •  Homophobic crap (8+ / 0-)
    When Sandra died, Caroline took it hard, but Betty took it harder.  There she was with a will in her possession, leaving her all of Sandra’s money, which, had the affair lasted just a little longer, would now be hers
    Dismissive of LGBT's relationships.

    Calling them "affairs"

    Complaining the relationship was not long enough. When if a straight couple meets they can get married at that moment and if one dies that day there never is a question of "if the relationship lasted a little longer."

    I can't believe this is even reced.

    Stochastic Terrorism against LGBT's on Kos is on the rise I guess.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:21:10 AM PST

  •  Way to screw over a lesbian (11+ / 0-)

    You must be so proud.

    I felt bad for my cousin’s husband.  By all rights, he should have gotten his fair share.  The proper thing to do would be for me to give him a portion of my own inheritance, and to suggest to my other two cousins that they do the same.  But then it occurred to me that if I were going to give any of the money away, I should give all of my portion to Caroline.  After all, Sandra wanted Caroline, the woman she loved, to have her money, and not some indifferent cousins about whom she cared nothing.  As I could not resolve the question as to who was more deserving, my cousin’s husband or Caroline, I decided to keep the $22,222.22 until such time as my conscience should guide me to do the right thing.  Moral dilemmas can be notoriously problematic, and thus the issue remains unresolved to this day.
    Your cousin's husband's "fair share" is the same as yours:  ZERO.

    Rest well with your stolen money.  It's not yours.  It's not your cousin's, or the husband's.  As you have stated it the will is crystal clear, and if you were less greedy you would see that.

    This isn't a moral dilemma.  The morality is crystal clear.  

    BTW:  You really need to change your username.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:22:40 AM PST

  •  After serious thought, I am HR'ing (11+ / 0-)

    This is a diary of a person who, under the auspices of showing "why we need Marriage equality", writes a moving diary of how he took a widow's inheritance.  

    This is not something to "rescue".  This isn't an admission of guilt -- because stealing from widows is a "Moral Dilemma".  No it isn't.  

    Horace has it right above:  Your casual dismissal of the deceased's relationships, of the will that she obviously wrote with clear intention is not deserving of recommendation.  

    Shame on you and your cousins for your actions, and for coming here to flaunt them.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:57:36 AM PST

  •  Did I miss something? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle, kyril

    I guess I thought that you can write a will and leave whatever you want to whomever you want?
    If you went to court, it would be a pretty quick open and shut case?

    "I'm a hopeless romantic...you're just hopeless." -Bouncing Souls

    by AndrewOG on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:15:27 AM PST

  •  Okay, seriously (6+ / 0-)

    is this a thing that really happened and that you really did, or did you make it up to prove a point about marriage inequality?

    I'm not sure whether I should be criticizing you on moral or literary grounds, is the thing.

    What were you trying to say?

  •  This happens with heterosexual couples (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    I have a female relative, "Judy," who had a long term relationship with a guy. He hated his mother and was not close to his family. He died. No will could be found. Judy claimed common-law marriage, and hired a lawyer. The family gave her a settlement to avoid a court fight over the estate.

    If "disinterested" feels guilty, maybe he should donate some of his loot to an LGBT advocacy group working for marriage equality. I don't feel bad for Caroline (other than losing her partner). She ended up a millionaire.

    •  Really??? It was her money!!!!!!!! (5+ / 0-)

      Whether she ended up with millions, or $1.49, it was her money and to go after it because they saw a loophole in marriage / inheritance law is disgusting.  

      She ended up with money that was her money to begin with.  The diarist ended up with money by taking it from her.  He should donate it back to Caroline.

      Do you want some stranger coming into your relationship and donating some of your money to a charity?

      How can you not feel bad for Caroline?  Complete strangers come into her relationship and take.  Really?  Where else would we tolerate such behavior?  Certainly not in the straight & married world...

      It was and still is not any of his business how the money was to be gifted.  He is not an innocent bystander... he is an interloper and profiting from someone he doesn't even know.  

      Disgusting.

      Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

      by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:41:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I strongly support marriage equality. (0+ / 0-)

        If Susan could have legally married, then divorced Betty, then legally married Caroline, there would have been no issue. But, if she lived with them as lovers without marrying, as many heterosexual couples do, the same kind of legal mess with inheritance can and will happen. Since there was a will, Caroline probably could have taken it to court and won, but she chose not to. Maybe she was happy enough with the $1 million or so.

  •  So you get $20K (5+ / 0-)

    from the estate of a woman you don't even know, and her partner gets nothing, despite a will?

    Shame on you. You should have known the right thing to do before getting involved in this travesty, and you certainly know the right thing to do now. So, damn it, go do it.

    Not HRing - yet. But I am appalled.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:15:18 AM PST

  •  Presume the attorney cut a deal with genealogist? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess, kyril

    So the attorney got 50% of what the genealogist got?

    Because why else bother to create a situation where his client would lose more money??

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:58:44 AM PST

  •  Have to admit I'm surprised by the reaction (11+ / 0-)

    to this diary.  I thought it was pretty clear that the diarist is being ironical, and its point was to criticize the injustice and flippant attitude toward same-sex relationships.  The last two paragraphs just underscore how ridiculous family law can be even under the best of circumstances, much less when people are left without legal recourse.

    I understand that irony is not the easiest thing to get across on the intertubes, but in a case like this, where the thesis is mostly right out front, I'm finding the negative assessments a little confusing.  

    If I'm wrong, and the diarist really did intend to write a diary about keeping someone else's money and flippantly dismissing same-sex relationships (strange as that would be, considering), I'll let the diarist clarify that... But I'm not seeing it here, and certainly not in the way the material is presented.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:13:44 AM PST

    •  He did exactly that... he kept the money... (4+ / 0-)

      See his comment above.  

      The story is true (0+ / 0-)

      The comment made above by FriendlyNeighbor is a pretty good characterization of my essay.

      I welcome any literary criticisms you wish to make, for there is always room for improvement.  As for the moral criticisms, while there is even more room for improvement in that sphere, the chance of my actually making any such improvements is, I regret to say, remote.

      This is a disgusting diary from a morally bankrupt creep.

      Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

      by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:35:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the comment by FrendlyNeighbor (4+ / 0-)

        argued that that whole section at the end was rhetorical rather than literal.  That's how I read it, too, and the diarist apparently agrees.

        At this point maybe it'd be better for the diarist to clarify, but I sincerely think we've overshooting on this one.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The diarist flatly states that "The story is true" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skip945, Rieux, lostboyjim, cai

          so I see no reason to interpret the concluding paragraphs as being "rhetorical rather than literal."

          The diarist describes taking advantage of discriminatory laws to obtain a significant sum of money that was supposed to go to the partner of a distant relative, and is flippant about the moral implications of doing so. I find the diarist's actions reprehensible, and I'm surprised that so many people appear to be treating this tale as a mere thought experiment.

          •  I don't understand why you're putting all your (4+ / 0-)

            interpretive eggs in that first basket and none in the second:

            The comment made above by FriendlyNeighbor is a pretty good characterization of my essay.
            The story may be true on exposition - i.e. how and why the money got divided in the first place - and rhetorical in its ending - i.e. the moral choice was so obviously clear that the last two paragraphs, as FriendlyNeighbor argued and the diarist agreed, are purely rhetorical.  This is a diary about the problems that same-sex couples face when it comes to legal recognition.  It's possible that the diarist wrote a few hundred words on the issue only to add a ridiculous final paragraph that negates the entire point of it, but somehow I think my reading of the story as intentionally ironical is a bit more coherent?

            Like I said above, irony doesn't always translate well on the internet.  Lord knows I've tried to defend more opaque diaries than this over the years, because I think good irony deserves its place even when the readership misses it.  Heck, I wrote a pretty contentious diary on the subject years ago, when people were canceling their New Yorker subscriptions because of the brilliant Obamas-as-terrorists cartoon, which I still think was one of their boldest and funniest covers.

            Or I could be wrong about this diary, and misreading it entirely.  I just don't see enough evidence to convince me of that yet, and the diarist's few interactions here (note the recs, too) only convince me further that I'm on the right track.  If not, I'll happily pull my support.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:42:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico, lostboyjim, cai, kyril

              given the diarist's latest comment, it would appear that your interpretation of the diary is correct, despite the statement (s)he previously provided, when specifically asked (and for the very purpose of determining whether (s)he was serious about stealing money from a lesbian widow), that it was "true." Upon further review, that statement appears to have been a convenient and inflammatory half-truth of its own.

              It's still an execrable diary. I hope you're able to see (it would appear that the diarist isn't) that this is a notably awful subject for an "ironic" joke. Yes, every doofus and his uncle thinks they're Jonathan Swift, but I'd invite you to consider the basic differences between (1) eating Irish babies and (2) using homophobic American legal institutions to brutalize GLBTs.

              My HR stays.

              •  We'll just have to disagree. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus, mrkvica, Purple Priestess

                And I think you're underestimating the extent to which Swift was considered offensive in his own day.  300 years' distance from the argument will do that.

                But on that note, I'm going to bow out of the comments here.  I've said my piece - plus I have a taste for bitter irony, so I might be more well-disposed toward it than others - and I don't want to prolong arguments with users I respect otherwise, so...  

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:14:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay. (4+ / 0-)
                  And I think you're underestimating the extent to which Swift was considered offensive in his own day.
                  I don't think I am, largely because the reasons Swift's essay was allegedly offensive bear little to no resemblance to the reasons this one is.

                  My point is simply that eating babies is self-evidently absurd; Swift's essay is very obviously facetious, and no one could seriously have thought otherwise. (There's a famous U.S. Supreme Court decision based on much the same concept.)

                  The original post here has no such defense. There absolutely are people in this country, indeed millions of them (such as Lisa Miller and her accomplices), who would be all too happy to do much worse than deprive a grieving GLBT survivor of a bequest from their deceased partner. This makes the nauseating position claimed by the OP narrator all too plausible and not at all clearly "ironic" or satirical at all. Which led to commenters on this thread taking it at face value—both attacking it and (thanks a lot, diarist) defending it from criticism. (How many of Swift's contemporaries defended "A Modest Proposal" by arguing that infantiphagia was "a moral issue for Swift, but not the point of the" essay?)

                  Then, pressed on the very point of the accuracy of the narrative, the diarist here declared that "the story is true" while gesturing vaguely at a commenter who had suggested that it may be partially "ironic." This was, predictably, very unhelpful.

                  I just don't think explosive political issues like this one deserve "ironic" yuk-yuk joking, backed up by ambiguous possibly-winking references to the "tru[th]" of an offensive story. Such behavior seems to me seriously disrespectful to the millions of people who are on the business end of tactics that are not at all different from the ones the diarist, apparently (though entirely ambiguously) facetiously, admitted to conducting.

        •  You are right (6+ / 0-)

          The point of my story was to provide a real life example of the need for same-sex marriage, regarding which the existence of a will was no substitute.  I included my own shameless part in the drama in hopes of providing some amusement as well.  Clearly, not everyone is amused.  But if the story, taken in its entirety, shows the need for same-sex marriage, the essay has not been a complete loss.

          You are also right about irony.  Apparently it is not to everyone’s taste, and this is not the first time I have paid the price of some hide-ratings for indulging in it.

          •  Clearly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lost and Found

            Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

            by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Great. (5+ / 0-)

            Aren't you one fabulous fucking martyr. Let us all grieve the blood you have sorrowfully shed for the great and glorious Irony.

            You aren't Jonathan Swift, pal. If you decide to get a rise out of well-meaning people by posing as a homophobic shakedown artist and then declaring, when questioned, that "The story is true," you're in no position to whine when you get hide-rated.

            But if the story, taken in its entirety, shows the need for same-sex marriage....
            It doesn't. Its effect has been to stir up needless shit among people who take the equal protection of the law somewhat more seriously than you evidently do.

            Real people's lives depend on marriage equality. It is not the proper subject for your ugly shits-and-giggles games.

          •  If it walks like a duck (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lostboyjim, cai, AllisonInSeattle

            If it walks like a thief, and acts like a thief, and smells like a thief....

            It's a thief... irony or not.

            Keeping the money is no better than being a thief.

            Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

            by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:56:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, now I'm once again unclear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai, AllisonInSeattle

            as to whether your part in the story happened or not.

            FriendlyNeighbor's comment, which you said is accurate, suggests that you made up your own part in the story for the sake of a dramatic flourish.  Is that how you understood the comment when you said it was accurate?

            •  Sorry for the confusion (1+ / 2-)
              Recommended by:
              Rieux
              Hidden by:
              Lost and Found, cai

              My part in the story was true as well.  It did occur to me that my cousin’s husband was entitled to the share my cousin would have gotten had she not died; and it likewise occurred to me that Caroline’s moral claim to the money was stronger than his.  Only the part at the very end, where I stated that I was morally conflicted about the money, was disingenuous.  In other words, I kept the money.

              •  Right, then. (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rieux, Lost and Found, cai, madhaus, kyril

                Seriously considering an HR for that disingenuousness, which was essentially jerking around your readers on the whole point of the piece.

              •  Sickening. (5+ / 0-)
                In other words, I kept the money.
                Oh, so that's funny, huh?

                The savage abuse of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in this country is not a joke, asshole.

                Why don't you call up Janet Jenkins and tell her this "ironic" knee-slapper of yours about using the law to steal things from a lesbian you've never met? I'm sure she has a terrific sense of humor when it comes to that topic.

              •  How's this for irony... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, Cthulhu

                Fuck you!
                and the rest of your "family" for taking her money away from her.

                You are a worthless piece of shit.

                Your "diary" should not be in Community Spotlight, it should be HR'd into oblivion.

                You disgust me.

                I even have more disgust for you now since you clearly do not regret keeping the money... using my fight to be an equal part of society to assuage your guilt pisses me off to no end...  

                And just to be clear.... FUCK YOU.

                Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

                by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:15:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                  What the diarist is now saying is that (s)he didn't keep the money. Presumably (s)he did give it to Caroline. The idea—which (s)he has been entirely coy and snarky about, because it's so much fun to play hard-to-get with reality when it comes to supposed brutality directed at GLBTs—is that all the stuff in the initial diary about the "moral conundrum" of what to do with the money was "ironic." It was an attempt to be "literary." It never actually happened.

                  The diarist is keeping the charade up now (such as in the comment you're replying to—"In other words, I kept the money") because (s)he thinks it's funny. Apparently pissing off GLBTs, who have to put up in real life with the very shit (s)he thinks it's a scream to joke about, is just a barrel of laughs.

                  I can't disagree with your anger at this asshole, but I don't think (s)he's done the particular asshole thing that you believe (s)he has. (S)he didn't steal money from Caroline; (s)he merely treated the abuse of Caroline, and that of millions of others of us, as a fabulous subject for a sneering joke. A joke (s)he refuses to give up on, because our indignation at his/her apparent unapologetic homophobia is apparently so funny.

              •  Recc'd (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril

                because I think it's important for this thread-let (as opposed to the diary at large) to be unhidden. Lost and Found's downthread citation to this diarist's previous (and more overtly hateful) diary ought to be visible to lurkers, I think.

          •  You were HR not for irony, but for theft. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skip945, Lost and Found, kyril

            You are a despicable person if your own account of yourself is true.  It has nothing to do with "tone".

            © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:19:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Note (4+ / 0-)

      this comment, from the diarist. (S)he's maintaining that the story is flat-out true.

      I think one has to read a whole lot into this narrative to find it "ironical," but anyway the person who wrote it says it isn't.

      •  Note my comment just above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        that in the same breath, the diarist agrees with FriendlyNeighbor that the ending is entirely rhetorical.   That's how I read it: I thought it was obvious, given that the diary's thesis is directly out front.

        But I've PM'd the diarist to (hopefully?) clarify this point.  I sincerely didn't think to read the ending of this diary literally, and if the comments section here is any indication, nor did most readers.  This reaction has totally taken me by surprise.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:17:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you're right, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, kyril

          the diarist has done an overwhelmingly poor job of explaining how this "true story" actually ended. Even if FriendlyNeighbor's "[t]he part about the 'moral dilemma' was a flourish" actually means "the diarist gave Caroline the money," it's about the most ambiguous way to state that (supposed) fact imaginable.

          On the one hand we have the diarist explicitly stating (1)

          As I could not resolve the question as to who was more deserving, my cousin’s husband or Caroline, I decided to keep the $22,222.22 until such time as my conscience should guide me to do the right thing.  ... [T]he issue remains unresolved to this day.
          and (2)
          The story is true[.]

          [....] As for the moral criticisms, while there is even more room for improvement in that sphere, the chance of my actually making any such improvements is, I regret to say, remote.

          Meanwhile, on the other hand, we have an ambiguous notion from a different commenter about a Twain-ish literary "flourish"—and then the diarist's endorsement of that idea, whatever the hell it means.

          I just don't think the balance of the evidence the diarist has provided justifies any serious question about what (s)he's saying happened here. If Caroline did get the money—or if the whole story is fiction—the diarist has repeatedly conveyed precisely the opposite.

      •  Immediately above this comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        the diarist writes that it is ironical.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them"

        by ItsJessMe on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:44:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not "ironical" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found, cai, kyril

          it's sociopathic.

          Only the part at the very end, where I stated that I was morally conflicted about the money, was disingenuous.  In other words, I kept the money.
          That's not irony... that's disgusting.

          Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

          by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:22:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ech. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai

            No, that assertion is "ironical" too. (Sneeringly sarcastic, as well.) The diarist is dicking us around.

            This asshole just thinks it's hilarious to get a rise out of people who give a shit about abuse of GLBTs and don't appreciate that all-too-real phenomenon being (incompetently) joked about.

            One has to read between the lines, but this person (1) gave the money to Caroline (to the extent that this story has any reality to it at all) and (2) thinks that his/her literary pretensions and/or martyrdom on the altar of Valuable Literary Irony are more important than making the pro-GLBT point (s)he supposedly was making in the diary.

            A diarist who actually gave a shit about the Carolines of the world would have responded to this comment with something like this:

            Sorry—I was trying to use some literary irony at the end of the diary; I guess that didn't come across to several readers. The story is true, except that in real life I actually did give the money to Caroline without any serious "moral conundrum" about it.

            I was never really conflicted; I gave the money to Caroline; and no one else in a similar situation (including my surviving cousin) should ever act any differently. I'll revise the diary to make my feelings on that point more clear. Sorry if my desire to be a latter-day Mark Twain/Jonathan Swift got in the way of the message I was trying to convey.

            Instead, the diarist opted for coy half-truths, "O Woe is Me: I Suffer HRs for the Sake of Upholding Irony" martyrdom, and general dickishness at the expense of GLBTs. What an asshole.
  •  I have a gay friend whose gay aunt died (11+ / 0-)

    in Wyoming.  She had tried to leave everything to him in the will but the family contested it and he got nothing except years of legal fees.  Truly sad situation.

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:14:49 AM PST

  •  Assuming this is anything but illustrative fiction (4+ / 0-)

    100% of everything you and your cousins and the "genealogist" got should go to Caroline, and I have nothing but contempt for the lot of you.

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:03:57 PM PST

  •  Welp, (7+ / 0-)

    the latest comments from the diarist indicate s/he kept the money.

    So, dear diarist, you're a thief and I hope that pittance of money was worth sacrificing any moral integrity you had.  

    What a sham.  That's Caroline's money, regardless of how much she ended up with.  You fleeced the de-facto wife of your relative that you barely even knew.  Many things in life are more important than money, though it appears you don't understand this.

    "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

    by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:13:01 PM PST

  •  Adding my HR to counter the rescue. (8+ / 0-)

    Since when do we promote diaries by people who take advantage of both legal and social homophobia to rip off a grieving woman?

    You did not know your cousin.  You did not love her.  Even if you had, you were not named in her Will.  Your proper share, your cousins' proper shares, are zero dollars and zero cents, with a heaping helping of eating crow and apologizing to a woman you participated in ripping off.

    That you would try to couch your theft in moral terms by saying you believe in being "generous with ones associates" is revolting.  You apparently do not believe in being honest and honorable, not even with your family members and their loved ones.

    "Oh, I'd be out $22,222.22 if they'd been married, now think about that," does not constitute an upright moral stance.  Go to hell, go to directly to hell, and on your way, mail $22,222.22 to Caroline."

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:16:36 PM PST

    •  P.S. -- Betty's proper share is also $0.00, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, lostboyjim, kyril

      her misdeeds in no way excuse yours.

      © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:17:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  While true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        it's a little more complicated than that; had she been able to marry the woman she loved, she would have been entitled to a divorce settlement after their relationship ended.

        There's a reason the law would have protected her: people tend to make financial plans and decisions with their life partners with the expectation that they'll continue to be sharing resources. Suddenly ending a long-term, serious relationship as the partner with fewer independent resources can be devastating.

        She may have been seriously struggling in retirement after that kind of blow, which should have been mitigated by the legal system if only she weren't a second-class citizen. I don't know if she's morally entitled to part of the estate, but I do know she probably has good reason to feel like she is.

        The douchebag of a diarist and his greedy cousins, not so much.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:05:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is there a way to send a complaint to the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lost and Found, kyril

    Rescuers regarding the rescue of this diary?

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:32:48 PM PST

  •  I sent the following to the Rescue Rangers: (7+ / 0-)
    Dear Diary Rescue:

    I read with interest the diary "How Same-Sex Marriage Would Have Resolved a $22,222.22 Moral Dilemma".  I presumed, because of the community imprimatur on this diary, that it would illuminate some interesting aspect of same-sex legal rights.  Perhaps it would discuss a tax or benefit issue where lack of legal marriage cost a same-sex couple the named sum.

    Instead, I was appalled to discover that the diary was one where a distant relative participated in receiving $22,222.22 in ill-gotten gains from a woman grieving the death of her partner, the diarist's cousin.  The bereaved consented to the payout, in the end, because her lawyer pointed out that a homophobic judge or jury might leave her with nothing.

    In other words, the diarist profited to the tune of thousands because of lack of marriage equality and social prejudice.  

    Perhaps whoever selected this diary for rescue thought the story was illustrative fiction.  It was not fiction; the diarist confirmed in comments that the only ironic part was feeling any compunction about keeping the money.  This was moral, if not legal, theft, from a moral, if not legal, widow, under the cover of gross societal injustice.  Is this what our community wishes to promote?  

    I am dismayed and disgusted by this diary's position in Community Spotlight.  Please reconsider your promotion of it.  Thank you,

    cai

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:50:33 PM PST

  •  Wait...aren't you the bad guy in this? (6+ / 0-)

    You were contesting her will as an heir....why?  What indication did you have that either will wasn't valid?

    I felt bad for my cousin’s husband.  By all rights, he should have gotten his fair share.
    Until someone gives me a reason to believe the wills were both invalid, I think he got his fair share.

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:16:17 PM PST

  •  pardon my vernacular... (6+ / 0-)

    but what the fuck is this shit doing in Community Spotlight?

  •  Anyone know (6+ / 0-)

    what the record for HRs in a Community Spotlight diary is?

    Whatever the previous mark, I'd like to think this one can/should challenge it.

  •  Honestly, this diary sickens me (10+ / 0-)

    I've read through all the comments in an attempt to figure out why this has been recced at all, and I just can't wrap my head around it. In the end, I still have the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. The gist of the diary, if I'm not mistaken, is that you feel marriage equality should be the law of the land to prevent people like you from exploiting the law to rob the estates of same-sex partners. Well I'm really glad you can make this observation with $22K in your pocket. Isn't that convenient.

    There is no "moral dilemma" here. None whatsoever. It's actually pretty cut-and-dried. Yes, Caroline deserves the money, and if you don't give it to her, Shame. On. You.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:18:18 PM PST

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