Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

In favor of a Constitutional Amendment

Reagan’s Attorney General, Edwin Meese III, writes a solid op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on the meaning of the same-sex marriage chaos brought about by the courts. He claims legal chaos--we are in danger of redefining marriage out of existence altogether--is afoot in the land regarding this fundamental question, and that the only thing that is likely to stop it is a uniform definition of marriage, and he claims that a Constitutional Amendment is necessary. He claims that this need not necessarily mean that states would not continue to have regulatory responsibility. He concludes: "The very consideration of an amendment that focuses on marriage would be an important vehicle for a nationwide debate about the nature, purpose and legal status of the institution of marriage. States are already strengthening their laws, passing state defense of marriage acts and considering state constitutional amendments -- all of which should be encouraged. A meaningful national conversation about an amendment to defend marriage will further this process and become the centerpiece of a larger and longer-term effort to promote and strengthen marriage and the family.

The defenders of marriage did not choose this debate or force this issue on the nation. Americans are a wonderfully tolerant and very reasonable people. But the issue having been joined, and the decision having been forced, we must now act on our basic principles and deepest convictions -- to preserve constitutional government and protect marriage."

Discussions - 1 Comment

Meese is right about one thing at least: it’s good to have a dialogue here, even if the forum is constituted with certain distortions (Cornyn’s panel on "activism versus democracy" being a case in point).

Still, it’s a little odd to say that "the defenders of marriage did not choose this debate," when so far, not a single court has held that either equal protection or full faith and credit requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, or civil unions, for that matter, as far as I understand it. Rhetorically, it’s important for Meese to establish this point, but both FMA and DOMA have an aura of preemption about them.

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