Don't Make A Federal Case Out Of It

In the course of my early voting I downloaded the sample ballot from the Davidson County Election Commission. Unless you've been out preparing for the zombie apocolypse you've been hearing about Constitution Amendment 1 and how it defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

It's a really bad idea for any number of reasons. But morality issues aside, I'd never read the actual wording before and when I looked at the sample ballot, one particular sentence jumped out at me:

If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

I disagree with this amendment, and voted against it. But I could probably live with it if it wasn't for that particular sentence. It's incredibley stupid. It potentially put a thumb in the eye of all 49 other states since we're not willing to recognize their judgement. I wouldn't go as far as Short and Fat's worry about them not recognizing TN driver's licenses, but this is not a good step for Tennessee to take. Not only does it bring us into conflict with other states, but it also forces the issue up to the federal level. New Jersey has already had a court ruling forcing them to recognize gay marriage in some version. New Jersey may end up calling them civil unions instead, but it's only a matter of time before some state starts performing gay marriages and isn't considerate enough to ban out of state couples like New Hampshire. As soon as that happens you can bet some enterprising gay couple will be off to exchange rings. And the minute the ceremony is over they'll be back in Nashville filing court papers.

With this type of conflict between states, any action would have to be in a federal court. The second that lawsuit enters federal court the homegrown supporters of Amendment 1 lose all control of the situation. I can't really imagine a federal court upholding this, and I have no idea what a conflict between the state constitution and a federal court would result in. But I can't imagine Tennessee coming out on top. They're essentially taking this from a states rights issue and making it a federal issue because there's no way the federal government can allow states to not recognize marriages performed in other states.

To me it looks like some people are getting greedy. Gay marriage is already against the law, but they want to get it into the Constitution so we can't change our mind. In the process I think they're going to make it more likely to change, not less. And it's liable to force a national policy on the topic.


Anonymous Chip said...

Well said!

9:15 AM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger Ed Buckby said...

I see what you're saying, but look at it the opposite way. What IF one single State wants a form of marriage that every OTHER state doesn't want? Is it any different to expect the people of the other 49 states to accept the marriage in their state just because someone in another state accepts it?

It sort of runs both ways.

Of course, it's not going to matter much UNLESS the Federal Government makes a decision.

6:09 AM, November 07, 2006  

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