Last week, an Appeal Court in Quebec upheld the legal case of a 12 year old girl who sued her father because he had grounded her (after she disobeyed him for being on the internet when she was not supposed to be) from taking a school field trip. You can read the details story here.
In the CBC report on this story, the last line reads:
In its Monday ruling, the appeal court warned the case should not be seen as an open invitation for children to take legal action every time they’re grounded.
My question is: Why in the world not? How is this ruling not an open invitation, given that it actually overturned the father’s parental judgment? It is silly for the appeal court to make this judgment, then warn everyone not to use it as legal precedent. It will be precedent, their warning notwithstanding.
In reality, this case sets an extremely dangerous legal precedent that suggests that when parents disagree on a matter of discipline in regard to a child, the child has the option of taking a parent to court to resolve the dispute. (This is, by the way, not only my lay opinion, but the professional legal opinion of the lawyer who represented the father in the case as well. You can hear a brief interview of the lawyer here.)
It is this kind of judgment taking place in our court system that gives me an eery reminder of what my Doktorvater Douglas Farrow has been warning us about for quite some time, mainly, that when the State begins to think that it has the authority to define the nature of marriage (and therefore the nature of “family”), it also will begin to increasingly become our “legal guardians/parent” over against the place of our “natural/biological parents.” Scary…