Moon, June, Spoon, Honeymoon
The President will make a speech on Monday supporting the Constitutional amendment in front of the U.S. Senate to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This is not a new opinion for the President – the text of is 2004 White House briefing is HERE.
The crux of the President’s argument is this:
The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.
Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.
For all these reasons, the Defense of Marriage requires a constitional amendment.
In this, the President’s reasoning is simply incorrect. The fact that gay activists cry that homosexual marriage is a constitutional right does not make it so. The fact that notoriously activist Circuits and judges have claimed that it is a constitutional right does not make it so. President Clinton’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was the proper solution to the matter. It defined the rights of the states to regulate this matter and indeed that is the proper sphere for such regulation.
It might be helpful to look back to the last such ‘assault’ upon marriage at the beginning of the last century – divorce. To be divorced in New York, a court must be presented with concrete evidence of adultery, the only reason acceptable to break the marriage contract under their laws. As a reaction, the town of Reno in Nevada became a boom town as New Yorkers moved there to establish residence in order to obtain a divorce under Nevada’s more lenient law.
Historically, every state has had differing laws on marriage. The age of consent in Mississippi was 14 – not 21 like most states. Massachusetts required a blood test for Gonorrhea and a three day wait. Maryland, or ‘Marry-Land’, required no wait or residency at all. Now, the age of consent in Georgia is 17 – unless the bride was pregnant in which case, no consent was required at all. Most states allow younger people to marry with parental consent, but some have an absolute barrier to marriage at an early age, parental consent notwithstanding. Wisconsin has a 6 day wait, but requires no blood test, while Oklahoma has no wait but does require a blood test. Louisiana has created Covenant Marriages, which are much more difficult to dissolve. And on and on. Will the Federal government next be embroiled in the 'rights' of 12 year olds to marry? Where will this top-down regulation cease?
By advocating the creation of any Federal marriage amendment, the President is undermining the right of the various states to set their own parameters in this matter, another bit of creeping Federalism. It should be noted that 19 states have already passed laws and constitutional amendments which define marriage as between a man and a woman, indcating that the citizens of these states are able to act for themselves in this matter. While Massachusetts has created the gay marriage, adjoining states like Connecticut have already stated that they do not recognize these unions, as they have created a Civil Union alternative.
Porcupine is a great believer in the idea that even as all politics is local, so should all government be. While the President is entitled to state his support for such an amendment, in his June 2 radio address (link HERE) he himself said, “45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage”.
If it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it. Let the states decide how they want to be governed, which is the best protection of all for conservative principles.