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The Federal Marriage Amendment: Unnecessary, Anti-Federalist,and Anti-Democratic

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Article here.


Members of Congress have proposed a constitutional amendment preventing states from recognizing same-sex marriages. Proponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment claim that an amendment is needed immediately to prevent same-sex marriages from being forced on the nation. That fear is even more unfounded today than it was in 2004, when Congress last considered the FMA. The better view is that the policy debate on same-sex marriage should proceed in the 50 states, without being cut off by a single national policy imposed from Washington and enshrined in the Constitution.

A person who opposes same-sex marriage on policy grounds can and should also oppose a constitutional amendment foreclosing it, on grounds of federalism, confidence that opponents will prevail without an amendment, or a belief that public policy issues should only rarely be determined at the constitutional level.

There are four main arguments against the FMA. First, a constitutional amendment is unnecessary because federal and state laws, combined with the present state of the relevant constitutional doctrines, already make court-ordered nationwide same-sex marriage unlikely for the foreseeable future. An amendment banning same-sex marriage is a solution in search of a problem.

Second, a constitutional amendment defining marriage would be a radical intrusion on the nation's founding commitment to federalism in an area traditionally reserved for state regulation, family law. There has been no showing that federalism has been unworkable in the area of family law.

Third, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage would be an unprecedented form of amendment, cutting short an ongoing national debate over what privileges and benefits, if any, ought to be conferred on same-sex couples and preventing democratic processes from recognizing more individual rights.

Fourth, the amendment as proposed is constitutional overkill that reaches well beyond the stated concerns of its proponents, foreclosing not just courts but also state legislatures from recognizing same-sex marriages and perhaps other forms of legal support for same-sex relationships. Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage as a matter of policy, no person who cares about our Constitution and public policy should support this unnecessary, radical, unprecedented, and overly broad departure from the nation's traditions and history.

If you go to the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) website, there is a form you can fill out to help with petitioning against this.  I filled it out a couple days ago.


Uhg. That's not good news.  So here's my next question: If I were to marry Jocelyn before she can be legally considered a woman, will our marriage be dissolved down the road when she transitions?  Or is this still a loop-hole?

Lost in Time,

The primary reason that the far right wants a Constitutional amendment is because of Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution.

--- Quote from: US Constitution ---
Article IV

Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

--- End quote ---

Every other state is obligated to recognize the marriages of other states, or divorces, anything in the public records. If one is married in Massechucettes, one is married everywhere.  It is only a matter of time before these laws, that states have passed to not recognize gay marriages of other states, will be found to be unconstitutional, when litigation eventually makes it's way to the US Supreme Court, under the "Full faith and credit" clause. It will most likely take a few years for that to happen.  The language is quite clear and unabiguous, states may not opt out of recognizing the laws of other states, or thier public records.

Interesting, Massechusettes Supreme Court ruled that marriage of same sex couples is only available to state residents, as it is only gauranteed by the state constitution.

Having said all of that, this amendment has no chance. It requires a 67% majority in both the House and the Senate, then it must be approved my 3/4 of all the State legislatures, which would be 33, and all of those votes must have a 67% majority.

This is just feel good legislation, for the far right, in an election year, just as the last time it was brought up.  No one really thinks it will actually become a constitutional amemdment. The Democrats will filobuster it in the Senate if need be. It really has no chance.

Love always,

The following is the argument I used with my friends to urge them to sign this electronic postcard.  Hopefully it will convince a few of them to sign.


There is a drive in Congress for a Federal ban on same-sex marriages.  I'll be upfront and tell you that this petition drive is against this amendment to the Constitution.

Whether you are pro or against same-sex marriages, I want to urge you to sign this petition.  Let me explain why.

Our Constitution has always defined rights and liberties.  It has never successfully denied a liberty, nor has it successfully promoted a "moral position."  Prohibition is an excellent example of how an amendment to the Constitution denying the right to choose does not work.  An entire industry formed and thrived in defiance of that amendment.

This amendment promotes and enforces discrimination at the highest level.  It is based on the incorrect assumption that a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or <transgender> couple is incapable of a long-lasting and loving relationship.  This amendment could be used to prevent couples from receiving health care coverage, instance benefits and other benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy every day. 

This amendment also usurps States Rights in an area that has traditionally been left up to the states.  The Federal Government is taking our liberties away piecemeal through the ironically named PATRIOT Act.  Do we really want to let them take more?

Whether you agree or disagree with same-sex marriage, decide it at the state level! 

Our Constitution has always promoted liberty and justice for all.  Don't let it be used to force discrimination based solely on sexual orientation and gender expression.  This amendment is no different that a law banning marriages between couples of color or on national origin.  Discrimination is discrimination.

Don't let a few misguided and desperate Congressional legislators use our Constitution to provide a campaign issue!  This document is far too important and "secularly sacred" to be used in such a way.

Say no to using the backbone of our nation to deny life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The following are the "official words" of the Human Rights Campaign telling you how these electronic postcards will be printed out and delivered.

Whether you agree to sign this petition or not, thanks for listening to me.


Sign this postcard that will be hand-delivered to your Senators and Representatives this summer!  Congress is considering the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment and the Senate will vote in June.  HRC staff and volunteers will hand-deliver these postcards to Senators on June 5.  Take action today!


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