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January 16, 2005

But the Debate Rages On

Whether or not the optimistic perspective expressed in the previous post is justified, we who oppose the redefinition of marriage can't put aside our arguments. Andrew Sullivan may sing in soothing tones when he writes (emphasis his):

[Same-sex marriage advocates] should refrain from any constitutional or legal challenge to DOMA for the foreseeable future (something I've urged for a long time now). We should also refrain from any attempt to force any state to recognize a gay marriage from another state (of course that's different from a state voluntarily recognizing such marriages).

But we on the other side should not fail to point out that Sullivan's rhetoric is such that a state's recognition of another state's marriages is "voluntary" if its courts decide that it must recognize them. Indeed, both sentences that I've quoted essentially advise the same thing. By Sullivan's definition, a state isn't "forced" to recognize marriages unless federal courts do the forcing, and that isn't possible unless they strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

That is the echo in President Bush's hollow evasion about "waiting to see whether or not DOMA will withstand a constitutional challenge." Sullivan skirts the reality of the issue when he explains:

There is no need for the FMA in any conceivable sense while DOMA is in place; and DOMA itself merely underlines the existing reality that no state is obliged by law or the constitution to recognize the civil marriages in any other state.

The "conceivable sense" (whatever that means to Sullivan) in which the FMA is necessary is that the destruction of DOMA and the nationalization of same-sex marriage would likely come in the same ruling: If DOMA were to fall to claims of "equal rights," or to assertions that the Full Faith and Credit clause applies to marriage, this argument against the FMA is akin to suggesting that, in the Sixties, there was no need for an amendment securing the illegality of on-demand abortion as long as the Supreme Court didn't find a right to abortion in the Constitution.

And most of all, let's not forget that Sullivan and other savvy gay rights activists are not the sole sources of activity, nor are even they, themselves, bound by things they say when circumstances call for lulling melodies.

Posted by Justin Katz at January 16, 2005 8:57 PM
Marriage & Family
Comments

Justin,

Again, I must repeat my comments. Thank you for what you've been writing here, and in National Review, vis-a-vis the gay "marriage" movement and Andrew Sullivan.

I shall always continue to read this blog RIGHT AFTER I read anything at all from Sully on this subject (whether he shifts or not, and whether he ADMITS that he shifts, or not).

Take care.

Posted by: Aaron at January 17, 2005 7:53 PM