Terri Schiavo moves ever so close to death. The only thing we don’t know about this right-to-murder case is the truth. We hear the hyperbolic screeches of Randall Terry and Michael Savage, we cringe at the calculation of Michael Schiavo, who may very well be an evil man, and we almost have to look away from the wishful thinking of Terri’s grieving family.
I believe the President and the Governor—and even the Congress—have done what they can under the law. It has failed. But to expect them to engage in civil disobedience and do for Terri by force what the courts have not down by law is to wish for a breakdown of constitutional rule that would be far worse than the tragic result we are about to endure.
The original and fundamental error made by the Florida court was to ignore the fact that marriage is a civil and spiritual relationship defined by law, by many faiths, and by 4,000 years of human history. There are reasons that it is solemn, sacred, and given rights and responsibilities. Two people in a marriage are expected to have special consideration for each other, their mutual interests are intertwined, and their common experiences are expected to create a future desire to provide and protect each other.
The marriage between Michael and Terri Schiavo has been over for some time. Perhaps not when Michael began seeing other women, but certainly when he established a common law marriage with another woman and started a family.
I should make it clear that I do not blame Michael Schiavo for moving forward with his life and settling down with another woman. That is understandable.
In most cases, there is no reason to formally divorce a spouse in this condition. But how could a judge grant the hangman’s power to a man who has in body and in spirit gone through a de facto divorce?
When the Florida court ignored the responsibilities of marriage, it seems now, Terri’s fate was sealed.