Posted: 7:42 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
I don't usually delve into other people's marital aspirations, but this was a special case.
"I'm looking for someone that's well endowed," said Sarah "Echo" Steiner, a 39-year-old Lake Worth woman who is about to begin her hunt for a new husband.
Oh, wait. I forgot to mention that Steiner is looking to marry a corporation.
She's not looking for Mr. Right. She's looking for Mr. Right Inc.
"It would be an open marriage," Steiner said. "I don't think I could keep a whole corporation satisfied."
Steiner, a former co-chair of the Green Party of Florida, said her perfect corporate husband would be environmentally conscious, socially responsible and "not evil."
"I will be looking for how they behaved in past mergers," she said.
Free to campaign- and love
Now you might wonder what makes a woman think she can marry a corporation?
Steiner's search for a corporate marriage partner is kicking off on Saturday, which is nearly the one-year anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that extended what had been the rights of individual American citizens to corporations.
The landmark Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission overturned a 20-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibited corporations and unions from spending money on campaign ads that supported or attacked candidates for office. It also overturned a 7-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the so-called McCain-Feingold restrictions on corporate influence in elections.
(You might call the Citizens United ruling a breathtaking bit of activist judging, except that the activist judges on the U.S. Supreme Court that prevailed in this 5-4 ruling were the ones who are allegedly the paragons of non-activist judging.)
Steiner, who had a brief, human-on-human marriage during her teen years, figured that she might as well try to marry a corporation this time.
"I'm looking for the same thing that any girl is looking for - a partner," she said.
And a corporate partner has its advantages.
"Are you planning to have kids?" I asked her.
"Subsidiaries," she said. "Yes. Maybe even spinoffs."
Steiner said she's already been playing the field a little. She nearly took a tumble for a little video company out of New York.
"But it turned out to be a sole proprietor," she said. "So that wasn't going to work."
"Yes," I said. "Don't sell yourself short."
A brief consultation with the Florida Statutes pointed out some other considerations. Age restrictions would eliminate start-up companies as potential mates. And there's legal language about the marriage being between a male and a female.
"So you can't marry a female corporation," I told her. "That would be gay corporate marriage."
Steiner said she thought she could make it past the obstacles.
Wholly owned matrimony
The Palm Beach County Clerk's Office, the government agency that would issue Steiner and her would-be mate a marriage license, was less enthusiastic.
"We wouldn't be able to issue it because of what it says in the statute," spokeswoman Kathy Burstein said.
It says that both partners had to provide their Social Security numbers and be, well, people.
"I don't think it will be a problem having somebody represent the corporation," Steiner said. "Corporations use people to represent them all the time. Maybe an EIN (Employer Identification Number) can be used instead of a Social Security Number."
How do you douse the dreams of a woman in pre-love?
"I'm doing the full deal," she said. "I'm getting a shower. Bridal registry."
So at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Steiner will officially kick off her corporate marriage hunt at the Little Owl Bar in Lake Worth.
This will be a refreshing change of pace for the Little Owl.
"We've had a lot of marriages end here," Lauri, the bartender, said.