Next week Massachusetts will begin marrying same sex couples.
BOSTON (AP) – The Supreme Court refused Friday to block Massachusetts from allowing gay marriages beginning Monday, removing the last legal impediment to what will be the nation’s first state-sanctioned same-sex weddings.
The justices declined without comment to intervene and block clerks from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in Massachusetts. The state’s highest court ruled in November that the state Constitution allows gay couples to marry, and declared that the process would begin Monday.
The Supreme Court’s decision, in an emergency appeal filed Friday by gay marriage opponents, does not address the merits of the claim that the state Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its bounds with the landmark decision.Some time late in the week a lawsuit will be filled in another state to attempt to force that state to recognize the union based on the “full faith and credit” clause in Article IV of the constitution – it’s a lock, you can take it to the bank.
The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as male-female only, and gives states the right to deny the validity of a marriage sanctioned by another state. What you end up with is a Constitutional battle between the “full faith and credit” clause and the DOMA. The issue will be hotly debated in public and the campaigns, but the only place the debate will matter is in the courts.
It’s going to be an interesting summer…
Update: Christopher Cross notes that the DOMA requires that the state cannot be required to recognize a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of the other state. I think my description conveyed the same meaning even though it was semantically different, but if it didn’t I stand corrected.
Here’s a link to an analysis of the act and the actual text of the DOMA.