Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Re R.C. (Cal. Ct. App. - June 14, 2011)

On the upside, Edwin -- who's 32 years old -- apparently understands that he's not allowed to "be" with the 12-year old daughter of his baby momma (who lives with him).  Which I guess is something.  He says he's willing to "wait until she's 18" to sleep with her.  Nice concession.

On the downside, however, he seems not to understand that it's not okay to be "in love" with his (essentially) step-daughter.  It's okay to "love" her, but not to "love" her, if you know what I mean.  There's a fine line.  A line that's nonetheless important.

Including in that line, by the way, is how you kiss such a 12-year old.  Pecks on the cheek are okay.  But French-kissing is not.  Which is what Edwin concedes he's done.  The Court of Appeal holds that such conduct is "sexual abuse" as a matter of law, reversing the trial court.

There's a lot of interesting discussion about what "kissing" entails and what's socially okay and what's not.  All physical contact, of course, is a social construct, at least as far as propriety is concerned.  Particularly with respect to contact that doesn't have a functional sexual purpose.  There's nothing intrinsically different about kissing versus French kissing.  Or a back massage, for that matter.  It's all about how we define it.

So it's neat to see a judicial opinion try to deconstruct what we mean -- intrinsically, no less -- by X versus Y.  There's nothing that's in fact intrinsic about it.  Though I agree that, as a general matter, as well as here, the Court of Appeal's probably right that it's very uncool for Edwin to be doing what he's doing to the 12-year old child here.

So if you want to check out what people in black robes think about tongues, here's the opinion for you.