Thursday, March 30, 2006
Some Sanity Restored
So it turns out the Massachusetts Supreme Court isn't totally insane
. And we won't have a Constitutional crises on our hand, as the Court ruled that they can't simply ignore a 1913 law that prohibits out of staters from getting married in Massachusetts if the marriage is illegal in their own state.
In other words, the Massachusetts Supreme Court doesn't get to dictate social policy for the rest of the Union; just their own state.
posted by LWY, 6:43 PM
I don't have the legal expertise to argue on the merits, but it's pretty telling that the anti-gay marriage crowd are depending on old anti-miscegenation laws. That should be a clue.
Whatever it takes.
Why should the Mass. Supreme Court be able to undo a law in another state?
How is allowing people to get married in your state "dictat[ing] social policy for the rest of the Union?" Are counties bordering "dry" counties "dictating social policy for the rest of the Union" if they allow those from dry counties to buy liquor when visiting their county?
Full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. If Massachusetts were to marry same-sex out of state residents, who then returned to their home state, then there is a strong constitutional argument that the other state would have to recognize their marriage. If that argument held up in the Supreme Court, then Gay MArriage would effectively have been forced ont hte entire country by the Mass. Supreme Court.
Because they to Mass., get married, and then go back to their home state and demand that their marriage licence be recognized under the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constition.
Looks like I was beaten to the argument.
But is it Mass's responsibility to prevent other states' residents from going against their own states' wishes? What of my dry county analogy?
The analogy doesn't work.
You can always circumvent states laws by traveling to a different state. My state may not allow casino gambling, but I can't be banned from flying to Vegas and gamble there.
But that doesn't mean that I can use that to force my own state to adopt casino gambling, or in your analogy, force the state to allow liquor stores to be open on Sunday.
States don't mind if you fly to Mass. and get married, it's not about "going against the wisshes" of your state. They just don't want to have to be forced to change their laws just because another state did.
Sounds like they have an issue with the full faith and credit clause. I don't see why Mass. should have to worry about it.
You don't find something troubling about one States' supreme court getting to decide entire gay marriage issue for the entire country?
There are practical matters as well, as Gov. Romney said, he doesn't want to turn Mass. into the gay marraige Las Vegas.
The Mass Supreme Court is responsible to Mass, not to other states. Again, I don't have the legal expertise to argue on the legal merits of the case, but morally, I don't understand why Mass has to be worried about the implications that their marriage laws have on the rest of the Union. Was this law moral when it was designed to keep mixed-race couples from e.g. Virginia from marrying in Massachusetts?
I don't get the moral argument here - are you saying that since the original goal of the law was immoral (anti-miscegination) it should be invalidated by the court even though it no longer has that effect?
Or are you saying that opposing gay marriage is the same as opposing interracial marriage?
If the latter, well I'll wait for you to clarify before getting into the substance of the gay marriage debate.
I'm saying neither. My main argument is that there is no moral reason Mass should be worried about people from other states getting married in Mass.
I would further argue that the similarity (although not "sameness") of laws against gay marriage to the laws against interracial marriage, should be instructive to today's citizens. If it's obvious looking back that the law, in its original purpose, was immoral, we should be reluctant to use it for an analogous, albeit imperfectly analogous, cause today.
There's a legal reason for this. Mass. has an interest in protecting the intergrity of it's legal documents and syste, - if a Mass. marriage liscence isn't respected anywhere else, well that's just not good for Mass.
And why should they be reluctant to use this law? It served the same purpose back in 1913 - to protect the integrity of Mass. legal system.
What do you mean by "protect the integrity?" Are you implying that if they let out-of-state couples marry their law would be challenged in the Supreme Court?
Yes, and it's possible that the SC would rule that the marriages aren't valid. Every state has an interest in ensuring that their legal system is respected, as well as trying ensure that their laws don't interfere with other states as much as possible.
It's pure self-interest. Mass. doesn't want the tables to be turned on them on a future issue.
I think it'll be interesting when the full faith & credit issue gets to the Supreme Court (and it will despite this ruling, either with the Virginia custody case, or when the court in some other state w/o the in-state rule mandates gay marriage - NY,NJ).
If gay marriages are recognized in only some states, it will introduce a whole new level of chaos into family law. The Court may see their choice as either forcing Gay Marriage on the whole country (which I don't think there is any chance the current Court, even Kennedy, would do) or declaring that marriage is inherently (historically, etc.) between a man and a woman (even polygamy is simply a series of man-woman marriages with the same husband - the women are not reallybmarried to each other) - and that Mass. calling a union bet. 2 men a marriage has no effect on other states. Such a ruling would be pretty devastating to the Gay marriage movement. Any ideas what else the Court could do, assuming mandating Gay marriage is out, when it gets the full faith and credit case?