Marry, marry quite contrary to traditional values
Confused about the homosexual marriage controversy? Actually, it is very simple. By a four-to-three vote, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a ban on homosexual marriage is unconstitutional and has directed the Massachusetts legislature to strike down any state law that does not recognize homosexual marriage.
Some people, to include legal scholars on both sides of the homosexual marriage issue, are troubled that four judges meeting in secret can direct the Massachusetts Legislature to tell the people of Massachusetts what they must do on a particular issue. A much larger number of legal experts point out that what becomes the law of the land in Massachusetts with regard to homosexual marriage becomes the law of Colorado, Oklahoma and all the other States in the Union.
Why is that? Because this is what the U.S. Constitution says in Article IV, Section 1:
Each State to give credit to the public act, etc., of every other State. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial proceedings of every other State….”
What does this mean? It means that a contract for any legal purpose entered into in one state must be given “full faith and credit” in all the other states. That includes marriage contracts.
So, if a homosexual couple is married under the Laws of Massachusetts then that marriage must be recognized as legal and binding in all the other States, even if the people in the other States have passed laws banning such marriages.
Historically, the “full faith and credit” clause has served our nation well. It was the engine that allowed our commerce and industry to grow from intra-state commerce into inter-state commerce. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will ever vote to create any exceptions to the “full faith and credit” clause. In large measure, those four words have made us one nation able to trade, buy, barter, sell and communicate between the individual states – almost as a seamless whole.
In 1996, the U.S. Congress, seeing the homosexual marriage issue looming on the horizon, passed the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act was designed to allow states such as Massachusetts or others to permit homosexual marriage without such a permission to be binding on the other states by virtue of the “full faith and credit clause” of the U.S. Constitution. Senator John Kerry and 13 other U.S. Senators voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.
That vote and the acts of dozens of gay-marrying mayors in states where the law prohibits homosexual marriage and the decision by four members of the Massachusetts Supreme Court have handed Democrat residential candidate, John Kerry, a hand grenade with the pin pulled.
Back in 1996, Senator Kerry was praised by the homosexual community for voting against the Defense of Marriage Act. Today, Senator Kerry argues he is personally opposed to homosexual marriage but favors civil unions of homosexual couples. Although the homosexual community in America is only about two percent of the entire population, it packs a big financial and activist wallop within the Democrat Party. Thus, the illegal acts of those mayors and the act of the four Massachusetts judges have brought this issue to the political forefront in a presidential election year.
As a consequence, President Bush is backing a Constitutional Amendment conforming to the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people -- which is to not recognize homosexual marriage.
Would such an Amendment deprive homosexual couples of the ability to enter into agreements such as private contracts dealing with property inheritance, wills, survivorship and inheritance? No. All of those things can be done by agreements between contracting parties.
So, what’s the problem? Legally, none. The gay community is simply battling for acceptance of its way of life. This is merely another battle within the larger context of The Culture War, and the outcome is still in doubt.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and on the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2004. William Hamilton.