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.
While it may be a distinction without a difference, DOMA requires rather that the state cannot be REQUIRED to recognize an out of state SSU.
Whether this bear any substantive difference with the right to deny the validity sanctioned by another state is a matter for my Conflicts professor (who gave me and others one of the biggest bastards of a final exam today…I hate tenure)
It’s one thing if MA actually voted to expand what “marriage” is. It’s rather sad that policy can be defined by the courts rather than the people’s representatives. On another note… I wish GWB and the Senate actually understood the importance of getting GWB’s judges.
I don’t have the cite with me, but Massachusetts contains a law that voids and/or makes voidable marriages concluded in Massachusetts that are contrary to the public policy of the individuals’ domiciliary state if the individuals do not live in Massachusetts or intend to move to Massachusetts.
Ken, I agree with you about the voting… but a big hunk of me wants to say “tough $#!+” to Massachusetts. For the last several years the issue of gay marriage came up in the Legislature and before their Constitutional Conventions, and each time their fearless lawmakers wimped out on actually voting one way or another.
While I disagree with the way their court acted, the fact is that the legislature coulda headed off this off several times and didn’t. They made their own bed.
Yes… I believe it was the MA Senate that did us in. I also have to blame the Weld/Celluci/Swift era for not building any kind of “real” competition on the local level. Also, who nominated these judges??
We’ll see what Romney can do but anything is an improvement…. he’ll definitely have an issue to get people elected.