Justice Rhys Morgan in Canada told Steven Cranley that he "cannot form a romantic relationship of an intimate nature with a female person" as part of his sentence for abusing his former lover. I’ll give the judge a ten for creativity, but I have to wonder whether he’d been downing shots of Yukon Jack prior to making his ruling. How the heck are they going to enforce this one?
I’m sure that many of us can cite examples of sexual relationships in which one side feels a much stronger sense of intimacy or love. In other cases, both sides may feel that their relationship is just a "fling" and remain friends even after the sex ends and they decide to move on. It also is possible for a non-sexual relationship to become close, and even obsessive to the point that it unhealthily interferes with a marriage or other aspects of life.
So if sex alone is not the benchmark, how is a court to decide whether this poor slob has a girlfriend, or is otherwise involved in an "intimate" relationship, and what objective standard can it possibly assign? Will Cranley be arrested if he is observed going to a movie every week with a lifelong female friend? What if after a year of not having a girlfriend, he breaks down and hires a stripper to come in for a lap dance? Will he have violated his sentence if he becomes so enthralled that he considers the stripper his "girlfriend" for the time she is there, even if there is no abuse?
Another interesting side-note to the case is that the judge did not appear to place any limitations on marriage. In theory, Cranley could find a mail-order bride on the internet and take out wedding papers while remaining in compliance with his sentence, putting the girl in a dangerous situation when she wants to leave after discovering that he’s a freak. I suppose it’s okay to expose a woman to a potential hazard so long as Cranley demonstrates some sort of acceptance towards traditional family values.
One thing that is certain is that had this ruling been handed down in the United States, the outcry from both the far left and right would be deafening. The ACLU would be screaming about rights violations while evangelicals would be complaining that Justice Morgan is encouraging homosexual behavior by specifically prohibiting relationships with females (notice that his ruling mentions females only). Cranley’s race is not clear from the article but if he is anything other than Caucasian, you can bet that Al Sharpton would be praying at his side.
I understand the judge’s concern for the safety of women that Cranley may encounter, however the ruling is lame. It puts the courts in the position of measuring the intimacy of a relationship, and specifying when a female companion becomes a "girlfriend". In short, it attempts to standardize a highly subjective aspect of one’s personal life. It also leads one to wonder how Justice Morgan concluded that three years is the right amount of time to keep Cranley away from intimate relationships. The judge could have done better had he simply sentenced Cranley as a first-time offender, to a couple of years in a minimum security jail with a requirement for intensive mental health counseling.