Gay Marriage Amendment

September 13, 2007, 11:00 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Steve  | 6 Comments

At the risk of boring you all into a gaping stupor, I’m going to write my second straight article on politics.

Ahhh…that’s better! Plenty of room now, probably just three of us reading this post. Enough space to spread out, relax — I could probably put my social security number in the next paragraph and be perfectly safe.

Now where was I?

When Job and I were discussing Romney the other day on the phone, he argued that all Romney’s positions were new inventions. “It was only four years ago,” Job said, “that he decided he was pro-life, in favor of a gay marriage amendment, and (other stereotypically conservative issue).”

But Job, I said, I’m not in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. That’s actually a point against Romney for me.


Here’s why.

The Constitution is the fundamental and ultimate law in this nation. Its beautiful design makes change possible, but not easy. And at its heart is a commitment to federalism, the tension between a federal government most of its founders didn’t trust and the states, whose policies better reflect the political will of their inhabitants.

In general, and especially on contentious issues that affect the way people live, mandating one policy for all fifty states is a bad idea. Any time a politician makes a law without having to be accountable for its consequences, we’re all in danger. But that’s precisely what happens when congressmen from the fifty states enshrine their policy preferences on each and every one of us — and it’s exponentially worse when the culprits are unelected, unaccountable judges!

Take the abortion issue. The terrible Roe v Wade took much of the discretion in this area out of the hands of the states, establishing as a matter of constitutional law that a woman had the right to kill her unborn child without restriction during the first three months, and minimal restrictions during the next three. But this issue had no business ever being before the Supreme Court or Congress — it belongs to the states to determine (unless we are willing to define the unborn as “persons” constitutionally, an amendment I would support).

News flash: gay marriage is not killing anyone, even arguably. I can think of no reason to enshrine its prohibition in our most basic governing document. If the state of Vermont desires to let 20-odd homosexuals per year join hands and swear their devotion to each other, why should anyone outside that crazed Carabiner-loving state care? It might be a problem if the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution required every state to honor Vermont’s law as their own — but it doesn’t. The Supreme Court has identified a “public policy” exception to this rule; if gay marriage is against Alabama’s policies, it can happily ignore the dope-addled New Englanders.

If you don’t support gay marriage — and I don’t — you should get your state to ban it, either legislatively or constitutionally. But if we start trying to wedge our policy preferences into the Constitution, imposing them on everyone in every state, even those that are very different than our own, we will have no reason to complain when the other side does it to us. When it comes to a gay marriage “problem,” this cure is far more dangerous than the disease.


6 Comments to “Gay Marriage Amendment”

  1. MC-B on September 13th, 2007 12:13 pm

    I hope you figured me as one of the people who would keep reading, especially since I didn’t know your stance before.

    With regards to the content, I could hardly have said it better myself. A policy is never just about that individual policy; it’s about creating incentives and precedent for the next guy(s) in office.

  2. Mike J on September 13th, 2007 2:02 pm

    Steve–a constructive and reasoned point of view on gay marriage? Are you some sort of Communist?

    Just kidding–well thought out and I agree with you. I’d go one further though and not worry about banning it in states–I’m enough of a believer in being a “Resident Alien” that I’m generally wary of politicians bearing gifts.

  3. David on September 13th, 2007 2:19 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Although being the 3rd man in I guess I’m just the guy phishing for the SS#.

  4. David on September 13th, 2007 2:20 pm

    …unless you weren’t counting yourself in the 3 readers.

  5. Rose on September 14th, 2007 11:15 am

    I read the whole article just because I knew I wasn’t among the three, and I wanted to throw off your numbers.

  6. Djere on September 14th, 2007 2:28 pm

    I think a problem is that activists will force the full faith and credit clause and claim that “civil rights” outweigh “public policy.”

    Beyond that, I’m a Reagan-loving, Federalist-Conservative. I agree with Steve.

    What a boring article – all of us, patting one another on the back about how we all agree…

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