The Null Device
Database schemas as social policy
Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective
, or how different definitions of the institution of marriage would be reflected in different (relational) database schemas. Not surprisingly, the strictly traditionalist schemas do hideously inelegant things like have different tables for men and women, or mark one gender as subordinate to the other (i.e., have the males
table contain a wife_id
column), while the most elegant ones reduce marriage to a type of edge in generalised social networking, leaving policy (can you marry yourself for tax reasons? can more than two people be married?) outside of the schema.
I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, some technically ignorant legislator in some conservative backwater proposed a law requiring databases to have separate tables for men and women or something similarly brain-damaged.
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