Section 1 of Article IV needs to be amended. “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State”. This needs to be amended to add “unless they would require that other State to recognize and accept said Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings when they are illegal in that State”.
The matter of gay marriage is not a primary concern of mine, but it will suffice to raise the issue. The Defense of Marriage Act, and the pressure for an amendment to extend it, would not be necessary if the states could choose whether to recognize spousal benefits conferred by other states where the marriage is legal. The nature of the federal system is such that the rights given in one state should not be forced on another state – a Bible belt state should not be forced to give marital rights to those who couldn’t be married in that state.
Wow, I can already see the responses – I’m bigoted, anti-gay, etc. Before answering let us consider some other licenses. I grew up in NJ, I could get a driver’s license at 17. I was not allowed to drive in NYC (20 miles away) until 18. In western states with wide open spaces some could get driver’s licenses at 14. Should NJ have been forced to recognize, under Full Faith and Credit, those licenses? I had a rifle at 12, and a pistol at 18 – should my NJ gun licenses allowed me to take them to NYC? (Had a problem with that – when I was on sea duty in the Navy my parents moved back from NJ to NYC, and took my pistol among my possessions. When I visited I took it, separated the cylinder from the body of the gun, and took it to my home port, Naval Station, Newport – and tried to give it (in two bags) to the guards at the gate. They sent me to the local police, no one wanted to touch it. I just kept it in my car with the body in the trunk and the cylinder in the glove compartment).
OK, I got off on a tangent – but it is still to the point. We have accepted for many, many years some matters where Full Faith and Credit are denied – but all have been logical. A young driver from Montana isn’t necessarily qualified to drive in NYC traffic, but a case could be made that he had the right under S.1,A IV.
Do the advocates of gay marriage, and the commensurate burden on states where it is not legal, also advocate that a “carry permit” from Texas should apply in NYC?
As this is in an area likely to raise controversy I’ll offer my own opinion on marriage. Marriage is a word, and a word long associated with a religious ceremony (even before secular governments). Let’s just drop the government from the process. Civil unions for all, no “marriage” certificate from the town clerk. Government’s only purpose in the union is to set the rules for spousal benefits in taxation, law, etc. – it should not be involved in the terminology. Offer a “certificate of union” to both hetero and homo sexual couples (and the commensurate requirement of a “certificate of divorce”.
That last is a point that is actually a concern of mine. I lived in Greenwich Village for about 25 years. Most of the couples in my building were gay – and a number of them city employees (teachers, etc.). I strongly resented that the gay partner got spousal rights without benefit of commitment. Let me say before you jump on me that the majority of gay relationships I knew were of long standing and didn’t “game the system”. But there were enough who did to be annoying. They would have serial relationships, and the structure of the City’s system allowed them to bring in the new and throw out the old.
So I guess I’m coming to my viewpoint. I’m in favor of gay “marriage”/unions – and in favor of gay divorce requirements. In order to get spousal benefits from the government (joint tax returns, legal rights, etc.) one should have to commit legally, and submit to the courts when one wants to break up the property. To that end I’d like to drop the word “marriage” or “wedding” from official forms – just call them all a civil union, be they a prince and princess, or be they two queens. Reserve the old words for the church, and let each church make its own choice.
Oh Hell, I really wanted to discuss the Full Faith and Credit, and I digressed. Suffice to say that there will be another article on Obama Care, EPA, etc, and the “commerce clause”. There is a relationship between the commerce clause and A.1/S.IV and their implementation.