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September 16, 2009 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Respect for Marriage Act. The House introduces legislation to repeal DOMA.
posted by kmz (106 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great fucking name. Just great.

I hope they keep naming things this way, as responses to names like DOMA, No Child Left Behind, and so on.
posted by rokusan at 10:26 AM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope it passes, but I think we all know it won't. Surprise me, Congress!
posted by elder18 at 10:26 AM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Finally.
posted by glaucon at 10:27 AM on September 16, 2009


Smart drafting of legislation there. Precise with no over-reaching and no grandiose surplusage.

Glad to see this being taken up in the legislature.
posted by dios at 10:29 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


My Rep is in on this, pretty proud of him.
posted by boo_radley at 10:30 AM on September 16, 2009


and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.

Why do I think that Oklahoma isn't going to be regulating marriage by making it more difficult for heterosexuals to get married and get divorced?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:31 AM on September 16, 2009


Odd, Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank did not co-sponsor. I wonder if that was intentional?
posted by munchingzombie at 10:31 AM on September 16, 2009


The law was passed during an election year when Clinton and many Democrats in Congress feared a voter backlash. Clinton issued a statement Tuesday saying, "the fabric of our country has changed, and so should this policy."

Indeed, the fabric of the country has changed. But no thanks to cowardly presidents trying to shore up their shaky credentials as observant Christians.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:31 AM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


I thought the White House wanted them to wait so they could build whatever consensus in Congress so that when they introduce the legislation they know it will pass. I also remember hearing that if they jumped on it too soon it would endanger its future success, but I don't know how accurate that is, really. Basically, I'm skeptical this isn't maybe a bad idea right at this point. I mean, maybe the White House just wanted to put it off to avoid the political implications, but I wouldn't want them to introduce it too soon just based on the principle when it might end up going nowhere.
posted by palidor at 10:32 AM on September 16, 2009


Odd, Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank did not co-sponsor. I wonder if that was intentional?
Baldwin is one of the sponsors. However, Barney Frank didn't sponsor for pretty much the concerns palidor raised.
posted by kmz at 10:34 AM on September 16, 2009


metafilter has made me too cynical. I read the first 5 comments as total sarcasm until I followed the links and realized people were actually being sincere!

And I like how the names on the act take up more room that the act itself.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:34 AM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was going to say "big whoop, legislation introduced". But then I looked at the loooong list of co-sponsors.

Good on you, Mr. Nadler of New York, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Polis of Colorado, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Engel, Ms. Kilroy, Ms. Speier, Ms. Berkley, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Mrs. Maloney, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Israel, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Abercrombie, Ms. DeGette, Mr. Stark, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Welch, Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Weiner, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Olver, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Markey of Massachusetts, Ms. Norton, Mr. Hodes, Mr. Ackerman, Ms. Velazquez, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Fattah, Mr. George Miller of California, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Honda, Mr. McDermott, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Watson, Mrs. Lowey, Ms. Clarke, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, Mr. Gutierrez, Ms. Edwards of Maryland, Mr. Kucinich, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Holt, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Mr. Towns, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Becerra, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Filner, Mr. Waxman, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Murphy of Connecticut, Mr. Pastor of Arizona, Mrs. Capps, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Delahunt, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Sestak, Mr. Berman, Ms. Shea-Porter, Mr. Jackson of Illinois, Mr. Rothman of New Jersey, Mr. Kennedy, Mrs. Davis of California, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Tonko, Ms. Tsongas, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Ms. Matsui, Ms. Harman, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Himes, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Doyle, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California, Mr. Farr, Mr. Meeks of New York, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Maffei, Ms. DeLauro, Ms. Castor of Florida, Ms. McCollum, and Mr. Wu!
posted by Plutor at 10:35 AM on September 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


Maybe the White House wanted it out off so that they could get health care reform passed. It's not as if they need extra fronts to fight on at the moment.
posted by oddman at 10:36 AM on September 16, 2009


I know something is Republican-based when it is framed as "defense of;" all agendas must be framed as if the Republicans were under attack. Please stop this War on Christmas, etc.
posted by adipocere at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


But then I looked at the loooong list of co-sponsors.

The question is whether they have any votes other than those.
posted by smackfu at 10:43 AM on September 16, 2009


Yay, Mr. Lewis from GA. I love my rep!
posted by pointystick at 10:44 AM on September 16, 2009


Mr. Nadler is MY representative. It makes me very proud.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:48 AM on September 16, 2009


I wouldn't expect this to survive a cloture vote in the Senate, so I'm not going to get my hopes up. Hell, they can't even get Tom Perez through.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:49 AM on September 16, 2009


This is well-timed to fit with the proposed ballot initiative in California, the Protection of Marriage Act.
posted by adamrice at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


*fingers crossed*
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2009


Like it or not (I don't), America is the center of global power politics.
posted by Brosef K at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2009


I just wrote my Representative (Elijah Cummings) asking him to support the effort as well.
posted by kalessin at 10:52 AM on September 16, 2009


America is the center of global power politics.

What some in-bred yokels think about marriage is irrelevant to the bulk of the worlds population. Does Metafilter need a post ever time a bill hits the House? No, it does not.
posted by GuyZero at 10:52 AM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


The "tenthers" should be all over this -- it expictly acknowledges the rights of the states to define marriage. Hah!

Progressives: This is an acid test. If you representative will not vote for this, then your representative must not get your vote come next election. It doesn't matter what letter is behind them. The reason you have so little influence in the political discourse of this country is that you keep voting for congressmen who reject your values the moment the election is over.

The letter should be simple and polite, and it should make it clear that if they vote against HR 3567, "The Respect of Marriage Act of 2009", then you will not give time, give money, or vote for them.
posted by eriko at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Very clever using the federalism angle. Relatively efficient drafting, as well. Awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on September 16, 2009


GuyZero: "What some in-bred yokels think about marriage is irrelevant to the bulk of the worlds population."

In fairness, The Toughest Canada Day Quiz Ever may not be globally relevant either.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


In related news -- John Marcotte: California Man Introduces Amendment To Ban Divorce.
"John Marcotte, a writer who runs the site BadMouth.net, is collecting signatures to get the 'California Protection of Marriage Act' on the ballot. If passed divorce would be illegal in California.

No, John is not a religious zealot (although he has 12 years of Catholic education), instead he's launched this initiative to mock the proponents of Proposition 8, which added "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," to the state's constitution. He told CNN this Act is the the "logical extension of Proposition 8."

Marcotte's website satirizes the traditional marriage campaigns..."
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is well-timed to fit with the proposed ballot initiative in California, the Protection of Marriage Act....

What adamrice said!
posted by ericb at 10:57 AM on September 16, 2009


in-bred yokels

Cute! And really helpful.

Does Metafilter need a post ever time a bill hits the House?

Maybe not. You're more than welcome to ignore such posts.
posted by Skot at 10:58 AM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


I have total respect for the bill, but from a drafting standpoint, wouldn't it make more sense for the operative question to be whether the marriage was valid in the state in which the individuals resided? I understand that that would prevent a couple from one state that didn't allow marriage from marrying in another state then receiving federal benefits, but it would seem to fit better with the underlying logic.

Any ideas about this tactic? Am I just misreading it?
posted by mercredi at 10:58 AM on September 16, 2009


Is anyone equiped to give - or link to - a quick explanation of how the current, apparently contradictory, marriage laws work in the US? What I'm wondering is questions like:

A same-sex couple marries in CT and files federal tax returns as married. What happens? Has this gone to court?

A same-sex couple marries in MA and moves to GA and tries to get that state to recognize their marriage. What happens? Has this gone to court? What about their children?

And finally, would the act of entering a same-sex marriage in a state that allowed it actually cause you to be discharged from the military? It must, but that's so sad.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:00 AM on September 16, 2009


What some in-bred yokels think about marriage is irrelevant to the bulk of the worlds population.

What the most politically-influential and powerful nation on Earth - and the one that does the most "human rights" enforcement abroad - does about marriage is relevant to the bulk of the world's population.
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 AM on September 16, 2009


What some in-bred yokels think about this post is irrelevant to the bulk of MetaFilter's population.

Also, go Nadler, Baldwin, Polis, et al!
posted by languagehat at 11:02 AM on September 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


A same-sex couple marries in CT and files federal tax returns as married. What happens? Has this gone to court?

Nothing happens. They can't file as a couple.

This past July, however: Massachusetts Is 1st State to Sue Feds Over Marriage Law.
posted by ericb at 11:05 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I too think that this naming is brilliant. I think we as a society may be getting pretty tired of the nameless acronyms that we've been decoding since the last whenever, and often finding out that they're euphemisms for really bad things that hurt people and go against common sense and basic human decency. I would argue that this vague, acronym policy-naming makes us irrationally skeptical of things we don't understand and furthers this idea of 'otherness'. Basically, the transparency is nice and straightforward. And iconicity is good.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:09 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - you know where metatalk is, thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 11:11 AM on September 16, 2009


Clever naming of legislation is not "transparency" in any sense. It is propaganda.
posted by The World Famous at 11:12 AM on September 16, 2009


And from another angle, there's the faux-movement to "rescue" traditional marriage by outlawing divorce. They already have enough signatures for a proposition, and it's turning into some first class trolling. A few people on FreeRepublic are actually saying they're for it, and the debates in the comments are great. A lot of trolls, and some people find themselves having to explain why divorce is okay, but gay marriage is bad for the institution of marriage. It's really smoking out the hypocrisy.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:12 AM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Massachusetts Enjoying Decreasing Divorce Rate Because of Gay Marriage?
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on September 16, 2009


Just watch, the procrastinators who spent the last six months justifying lack of momentum on this because the initiative needed to come from congress, are now going to complain that congress has taken initiative independently of the White House. You can't win on this.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:15 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


A same-sex couple marries in MA and moves to GA and tries to get that state to recognize their marriage. What happens? Has this gone to court? What about their children?

The Iowa law specifically addresses this (IIRC). It basically says you're valid here, but we're not speaking for other states.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:17 AM on September 16, 2009


Kucinich is my rep! Yay! Polka, bowling and kielbasa for everyone!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:19 AM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Girdle of Marriage Protection, +3 against lightning attacks!
posted by Theta States at 11:20 AM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


bitter-girl.com: "Kucinich is my rep! Yay! Polka, bowling and kielbasa for everyone!"

Pardon my derail, but isn't he a vegan? Kielbasa is a pork product, right? And to think, I thought Kucinich was the one politician with honesty and integrity...
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2009


The "tenthers" should be all over this -- it expictly acknowledges the rights of the states to define marriage. Hah!

"What? What's the problem? You guys are always all small-government-this and states-rights-that. Are you telling me you've gone Federalist on me?"

Done right, this could be spun so well: "The party that says it wants to give states more power is now back-pedalling. They want to take the power to decide who you can marry away from you, the power to decide who's in your family away from you, and give it to the federal government. And I don't think that's what America's about."

Wait, no, that's not spin; that's what's actually going on. Reality, liberal bias, etc.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


My congressman is a total douchebag and won't support this in a million years, but I emailed him anyway. Sigh, California.
posted by booknerd at 11:25 AM on September 16, 2009


The Iowa law specifically addresses this (IIRC). It basically says you're valid here...

Last July the 'Massachusetts 1913 law' was repealed, allowing out-of-state same sex couples to marry here ... and to recognize same-sex marriages from other states when couples move to the Commonwealth.
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on September 16, 2009


Oh, and FWIW if anyone has douche-y congresspeople too and is thinking of doing the same, I framed my email strongly as a state's rights issue in the spirit of US democracy, etc., and didn't even use the word "marriage" at all.
posted by booknerd at 11:26 AM on September 16, 2009


Proud of ALL FIVE (out of five) congresspeople from my state who supported this initiative!
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:27 AM on September 16, 2009


Hell yes.

BTW, I hope you all join the 2010 Protection of Marriage Act. Its a California Marriage initiative designed to save marriage from the scourge of divorce.*



*shhhhh . . . . .Please do not tell the wingnuts its a trojan horse to make hetero anti-gay marriage people rethink their stance on the issue.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:31 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This might be an appropriate place to mention the National Equality March, now under a month away!
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2009


also DOMA was unconstitutional the moment it was passed and remains so. Full faith and credit. . .
posted by Ironmouth at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


*grrr* How about a link to the National Equality March?

Which was the point of my previous comment
posted by hippybear at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


you're valid here, but we're not speaking for other states

It often seems the States of America are not particularly United.

United kinda implies they're all working together toward a common goal. But they're clearly not.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:36 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The World Famous: "37Clever naming of legislation is not "transparency" in any sense. It is propaganda."

You're right that the name is not 'transparency' in of itself. But like a storefront sign, the name sets the tone for what's inside. If there's confusion and obfuscation from the outset, it only increases when you wander in and realize that what you've found is not what you were expecting. I would argue that a significant cognitive dissonance between a euphemism or an acronym (especially a misleading or complicated one) and what it represents is more akin to the definition of propaganda, and being iconic, simple and metonymic is more akin to transparency.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:37 AM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


But like a storefront sign, the name sets the tone for what's inside.

The name sells what's inside. It is marketing. With legislation, most people don't wander in and realize anything.

Ask someone - even a legislator - if they support "the Hate Crimes bill." Count the number of times the response is "I don't know. I would have to read it first."
posted by The World Famous at 11:47 AM on September 16, 2009


also DOMA was unconstitutional the moment it was passed and remains so. Full faith and credit. . .
posted by Ironmouth at 1:33 PM on September 16


Not to derail the conversation, but the data on the MiG is inaccurate.
posted by dios at 11:53 AM on September 16, 2009


And the title "California Marriage Protection Act" isn't propoganda?

I mean, it purports to "protect" marriage by restricting it, but protect it from whom, or from what? Somehow, Prop 8 says, marriage is under threat from...people who want to get married. What?

At least the "California Marriage Protection Act" actually protects marriage - by preventing anyone who wants to end their marriage from ending it (legally). It's protecting marriage from divorce. Seems quite straightforward to me.
posted by rtha at 11:54 AM on September 16, 2009


Clever naming of legislation is not "transparency" in any sense. It is propaganda.

This is the Respect for Marriage Act. It is an act to force the Federal Government to respect all marriages in the United States. Since governing the right to marry is a right held by each state, the Fed should not have its hands in this. Does just what it says on the label.

I'm quite happy to see Congressman Capuano on there. I voted for him!
posted by explosion at 11:59 AM on September 16, 2009


It's about time someone respected my marriage!

Oh, wait.
posted by desjardins at 12:00 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, this legislation has a logical and effective title. I never said it doesn't. Likewise, supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act believed that its title was logical, accurate, and effective. That has nothing to do with my point about legislative working titles being marketing and propaganda, of course.
posted by The World Famous at 12:02 PM on September 16, 2009


It's about time someone respected my marriage!

Which one? By my count, you have at least 7.
posted by explosion at 12:11 PM on September 16, 2009


I don't disagree with you that this is marketing, which is part of the reason the storefront metaphor is so apt. However, marketing and propaganda are not synonymous! The former, while sometimes used for nefarious purposes, can be used for promoting good things, such as healthy products, policies, people and ideas. Marketing refers to the wide range of approaches in which this can be done, both good and bad. Propaganda however, has a negative connotation and by definition is a method that is misleading or nefarious. So, while it is possible that propaganda can be used to promote a good thing, its methodology or approach is bad or misleading, which ultimately isn't good for the thing it promotes.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:12 PM on September 16, 2009


However, marketing and propaganda are not synonymous!

I agree. I am calling legislative working titles both.
posted by The World Famous at 12:14 PM on September 16, 2009


Yeah Jim Moran! Support from Virginia!
posted by Navelgazer at 12:15 PM on September 16, 2009


Yes, this legislation has a logical and effective title. I never said it doesn't. Likewise, supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act believed that its title was logical, accurate, and effective. That has nothing to do with my point about legislative working titles being marketing and propaganda, of course.

Its a war. They started it. We're gonna end it. Whatever weapon they use, we will use better. They got Fox? OK we got MSNBC. They got Bush? OK, we got Obama. Bring it the fuck on.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:16 PM on September 16, 2009


Whatever.
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2009


dios: "the data on the MiG is inaccurate."

What is MiG?
posted by boo_radley at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2009


Barney Frank won't back Marriage Act repeal (Politico link)
posted by Craig at 12:20 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


dios: "the data on the MiG is inaccurate."

What is MiG?


I always thought it stood for Mikoyan-Gurevich
posted by Ironmouth at 12:21 PM on September 16, 2009


dios, as long as you're here, I'm interested in whether you think that DOMA is constitutional. It seems pretty clear to me that it takes a part of the Constitution (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) and essentially says "Oh, but it doesn't apply to this one type of contract between this one group of people." I'd genuinely like to hear the conservative counter-argument to that.
posted by EarBucket at 12:24 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry boo_radley. That was a playful reference to the movie Top Gun. I was only suggesting that the argument that DOMA was clearly unconstitutional due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause was not accurate.

The people who say that show a very remedial understanding of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. But if one studies the Supreme Court's jurisprudence, the entirety of the doctrines of conflict of laws, and notes Article IV's granting of power to Congress to prescribe the effect of laws to be accorded from state to state in the context of conflict, then it clearly is facially constitutional to pass DOMA consistent with the Full Faith and Credit clause.

But, anyhow, that was just a playful comment, and it is not really necessary to have that argument here.
posted by dios at 12:26 PM on September 16, 2009


I'd genuinely like to hear the conservative counter-argument to that.
posted by EarBucket at 2:24 PM on September 16


Then go ask one.

If you want my view, then you would be well served in seeking mine instead of asking me to ape someone else's argument.
posted by dios at 12:27 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sadly, I live in Delaware, so I have very little chance of my representative (Mike Castle, R-DE) supporting this, but here's the letter I've sent to him. Feel free to adapt it for your own purposes, but if you do, please let me know.


---------
Dear Rep. Castle,

I urge you to support H.R. 3567, the "Respect for Marriage Act of 2009." I recognize that you voted for the DOMA in 1996, but your own stated views (that marriage is a states' rights issue) virtually require the repeal of DOMA.

Indeed, your co-sponsorship of the ENDA earlier this year is a step in the right direction, and I applaud your efforts. I also recognize that the increasingly wing-nut nature of many Republicans creates a conflict for you as a moderate and reasonable Republican. At the same time, it is your responsibility as an American to stand for what is right.

Even if you personally (and politically) oppose gay marriage -- and I respect your right to do so -- this is not a civil-rights issue or even a gay-rights issue; this is, at its heart, a states' rights issue, and as such, I would expect a man of integrity like yourself to support the rights of self-determination for Delawareans.

Although my views on many topics differ from yours, I am a realist; I recognize Delaware is unlikely to legalize gay marriage anytime soon. At the same time, the DOMA is an unconscionable abridgment of the 10th Amendment, and with the introduction of H.R. 3567, you have the opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to your decision to make Delaware proud by upholding the Constitutional rights of our state. Certainly, to do so will earn you respect from progressives like me.

Best regards,
me

posted by JMOZ at 12:30 PM on September 16, 2009


The people who say that show a very remedial understanding of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. But if one studies the Supreme Court's jurisprudence, the entirety of the doctrines of conflict of laws, and notes Article IV's granting of power to Congress to prescribe the effect of laws to be accorded from state to state in the context of conflict, then it clearly is facially constitutional to pass DOMA consistent with the Full Faith and Credit clause.

I think those cases were wrongly decided as it applies to a fundamental right such as marriage. The Court can call some prior decisions "wrongly decided" if it chooses. Under current jurisprudence, one can make a good argument that it does not violate the "full faith and credit" clause, but I just do not think that when it comes to fundamental rights, Congress can allow states to abridge those rights.

Of course I also believe in the radical concept that Loving should apply here as well.

I also believe in the radical concept that if one poster makes a dumb joke, a dumb response to that joke (specifically mine) should not be moderated off the thread. Crazy me.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2009


My apologies, dios. I didn't mean to misrepresent your views.
posted by EarBucket at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2009


I think those cases were wrongly decided as it applies to a fundamental right such as marriage. The Court can call some prior decisions "wrongly decided" if it chooses. Under current jurisprudence, one can make a good argument that it does not violate the "full faith and credit" clause, but I just do not think that when it comes to fundamental rights, Congress can allow states to abridge those rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:31 PM on September 16 [+] [!]


That's fine. And maybe you would be ultimately right about a challenge. My only point is to say that it is incorrect to say that it was unconstitutional the moment it passed. Under the prevailing law, it was constitutional. Perhaps the Supremes would reverse the law. But as it currently is, it is a constitutional exercise of Article IV power. Beyond that, I would only say that to insert a "fundamental rights" limitation on Congress's Article IV powers would be to insert something that is not in the text of Article IV and would probably require an Amendment. I don't know how to craft a textual reading of Article IV that would limit the ability to prescribe the effect of the Full Faith and Credit laws that would be consistent with the intent of the Framers and not completely abrogate the doctrine of conflict of laws.

But, it may end up being a moot point. We'll see what happens with this legislation, another proper exercise of Congress's Article IV power and indication of the benefits of regularly held elections.
posted by dios at 12:41 PM on September 16, 2009


Pardon my derail, but isn't he a vegan? Kielbasa is a pork product, right? And to think, I thought Kucinich was the one politician with honesty and integrity...

mccarty.tim, part of being a good person is respecting the rights of others to believe as they wish. Kucinich may be a vegan, but a large percentage of his constituency here on the west side of Cleveland are Polish/German, and fond of their sausagelike products.

Correspondingly, even though he's married to a totally babe-a-licious, smart woman, he respect the rights of others who would like to marry a same sex partner instead.

He's our little moonbat and we love him! Go Dennis!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


seems pretty clear to me that it takes a part of the Constitution (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) and essentially says "Oh, but it doesn't apply to this one type of contract between this one group of people."
Article IV., Section 1: Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof. [emph. mine]
People talking about the Full Faith and Credit Clause seem to often forget the second sentence of the section. It's not clear to me how far Congress can go in regulating how states are to recognize the documents of other states, but they have at least some authority to do so. And from the Cornell Law School's excellent annotated Constitution:
Congress has the power under the clause to decree the effect that the statutes of one State shall have in other States. This being so, it does not seem extravagant to argue that Congress may under the clause describe a certain type of divorce and say that it shall be granted recognition throughout the Union and that no other kind shall.
If you want to argue that DOMA is unconstitutional, I think the argument from the 14th Amendment is much stronger than an argument from the Full Faith and Credit clause.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:02 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The World Famous: "64I agree. I am calling legislative working titles both."

Oh, right. Fair enough. :)

Actually, that's quite interesting the more I think about it. It hints at the possibility of multiple intents when creating a message. Or possible varying interpretations/characterizations of that message. It comes down to when, where, and how something can be labeled as propaganda (or marketing or whatever). Is this label determined by the people, in assessing a public message? Or by the intent of the creators of that message? Does it include both of these perspectives? Or does it exist independently of them? I'm gonna go ponder that for a while. I'd be curious to hear others' takes on that one.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:02 PM on September 16, 2009


Sorry for the derail. Just realized that I totally wandered off post.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:03 PM on September 16, 2009


If you want to argue that DOMA is unconstitutional, I think the argument from the 14th Amendment is much stronger than an argument from the Full Faith and Credit clause.
posted by DevilsAdvocate 5 minutes ago


I would agree that it is stronger. (Actually, in this instance, the 5th Amendment because we are dealing with federal government action instead of state action, but the argument has to be rooted in that Constitutional briar patch o whether the 14th's equal protection applies to the federal government through the 5th Amendment as was wrangled with in Bolling v. Sharpe and others). It's a stronger argument, but it is still ultimately a loser as over a dozen unsuccessful challenges have consistently shown. The problem is that there is no fundamental right at stake, so Congress need only show the low threshold of a rational basis. (And because I can anticipate the argument, the right to marry is not at issue under DOMA. Under DOMA, state laws on marriage are not effected.)
posted by dios at 1:20 PM on September 16, 2009


It'd be nice if they could also pass the Deterrence of Wingnuttery, Nitwits, Egomaniacs and Yokels Act at the same time.

Then you'd have the ROMA-DOWNEY bill.
posted by WCityMike at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


God damn it, Anna Eshoo. You're getting a letter.
posted by padraigin at 1:29 PM on September 16, 2009


RESPECT the marriage! And TAME the G.O.P.
posted by adipocere at 2:19 PM on September 16, 2009


Find out what it means to me!
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:28 PM on September 16, 2009


United kinda implies they're all working together toward a common goal. But they're clearly not.

The history of States' Rights is an interesting one, and this time Congress seems to be siding with the states. It makes me a bit sad, but it seems like a quick patch to DOMA, which probably has a much higher chance of passing than a sweeping reform.

In short, they're not making the piecemeal approach of supporting gay marriage any less piecemeal, but doing away with the over-arching DOMA issues.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:46 PM on September 16, 2009


I sent a letter to my representative last week, when this act was first mentioned. It's "nice" to see that not a single Democratic representative from Texas had the mangoes to put their name to this bill.

“I think getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress.”

Wow, way to fight for benefits for federal employees! Which includes Representatives! But not most people who have been legally married and denied federal marriage benefits!

(Although I do agree that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell should be priority one. How's that working out?)
posted by muddgirl at 3:57 PM on September 16, 2009


I do agree that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell should be priority one. How's that working out?

Depends who you ask. I don't think there's been big news since June when there was big news and it was bad. And some follow-up news which is, if true, quite discouraging. I'm really waiting for some "I am serious" action from the Obama administration in this direction.

I'll write my rep to say "good job"
posted by jessamyn at 4:15 PM on September 16, 2009


From where I sit, there should be no 'civil marriage', everyone should have a civil union contract, and if you want a marriage, go to a church.
posted by MrLint at 6:36 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Marriage, union, samesame. If the religionuts are absolutely convinced that the word "marriage" is exclusively a church-word, then screw 'em: change the public laws to use "civil union."

No "marriage" will count for shit unless the government also gets a signed "civil union" contract, so it's not like it really matters at all what term we use to describe the legal arrangement for two people living together in economic and emotional union.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2009


Marriage, union, samesame. If the religionuts are absolutely convinced that the word "marriage" is exclusively a church-word, then screw 'em: change the public laws to use "civil union."

6 words as to why that is an utterly terrible idea:

"But that's not a real marriage!"
posted by Talez at 9:56 PM on September 16, 2009


The tide of history slowly washing away inconsistencies in our notion of civil rights. Keep it coming.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:56 PM on September 16, 2009


ENDA is still my #1 priority. If Frank is pushing for it, he's doing the right thing.
posted by jiawen at 10:08 PM on September 16, 2009


And who's going to listen to dipshits who say that, Talez? Nobody important. My common-law wife and I have been together for going on a quarter-decade. Do you really think "But that's not a real marriage!" really hurts my feelings in the least? My “marriage” has outlasted 80% of “marriages” and “civil unions” and has 100% fewer occurrences of cheating.

Honestly, it's time to stop letting the left-behinds drive the agenda. Six words my hairy ass, nagging social conservative stereotype.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 PM on September 16, 2009


ericb: That's nothing, back in 2005 Texas outlawed marriage entirely.
posted by hattifattener at 10:48 PM on September 16, 2009


But as it currently is, it is a constitutional exercise of Article IV power. Beyond that, I would only say that to insert a "fundamental rights" limitation on Congress's Article IV powers would be to insert something that is not in the text of Article IV and would probably require an Amendment.

This is a very reasonable conservative defense for DOMA.

Just as much as keeping human beings as slaves or "3/5ths-human property" was protected with Article I, Sections 2 and 9 and Article IV, Section 2 of the US Constitution.

A very reasonable defense for moral behavior, indeed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 PM on September 16, 2009


Marriage, union, samesame.

I'm in an opposite-sex marriage, and if we could have gotten a civil union, believe me we would have. I think most opposite-sex couples who are proponents of equality in marriage laws would agree that we don't care what it's called, as long as opposite-sex and same-sex couples can get the same thing.
posted by muddgirl at 10:51 AM on September 17, 2009


Well, I got a lovely reply from my Congressman today:


Dear [booknerd]:

Thank you very much for taking the time to contact me regarding same-sex marriages. I really appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

I strongly believe that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Because of these beliefs, I co-sponsored H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) in the 109th Congress.

In the 110th Congress, I am proud to once again support legislation to protect traditional marriage. Therefore I have co-sponsored H.J. Res. 22 sponsored by Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-CA) on February 6, 2007. H.J. Res. 22 would prohibit the Constitution, any State constitution, or State or Federal law from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

On February 6, 2007, this legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member. No further action has been taken at this time. Although H.J. Res. 88 received majority support with a 236-187 vote in the 109th Congress, it ultimately failed because constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote for passage. Although this effort disappointingly did not succeed last Congress, please be assured I will continue the important work of protecting the institution of marriage.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or my office at (202) 225-0508.

Sincerely,

Brian Bilbray
Member of Congress


Bear in mind, I urged him to vote in favor of H.R. 3567 on the basis of supporting state's rights, despite his stance on gay marriage.
posted by booknerd at 2:55 PM on September 17, 2009


That's a very quick turnaround. Brian Bilbray apparently a) has some good (i.e. fast) LCs, and b) is conscious of the importance of the same-sex marriage issue enough to have prepared a boilerplate letter a long time ago that can be sent to folks like you, just to show you what a gigantic waste of taxpayer money legislative correspondence is. I am very impressed at the short turnaround time on that letter.
posted by The World Famous at 3:47 PM on September 17, 2009


I'm in an opposite-sex marriage, and if we could have gotten a civil union, believe me we would have.

How could you not have gotten a civil union? I'm pretty sure that if you are married, you signed civil documents to that effect. This is in addition to any other things you said or signed.

In the weddings I've attended, there's generally hoopla up in front of an audience, kisses demonstrated, and then an awkward little huddle as they and their witnesses go off and sign The Important Legal Documents that make the whole thing official. Then they're back to hold hands and say nice things and get applause and rice as they walk down the aisle.

Did you not have the awkward huddle moment?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:35 PM on September 17, 2009


How could you not have gotten a civil union?

That "official document" is called a Marriage Certificate or Application of what have you, and in tons of states, there are only two ways to get one:

1) Justice of the Peace
2) A religious ceremony

Thankfully, California has other, complicated ways to get married without a religious ceremony of any sort. It required mailing a form to the LA County Courthouse no more than but no less than 2 months before the wedding date and setting up a day to be Commissioned.

Essentially, the US has no real distinction between the civil marriage and the religious ceremony. In most states, the marriage license needs to be witnessed by a registered officiant. Unless you want to do the whole thing at the courthouse with a JoP. Hell, even in California there are very specific words that need to uttered to make a marriage official, including a statement of intent and the "power vested in me" part. You can't just fill out a form and submit it. (Well, you could, but it wouldn't technically be legal and someone could challenge it if they wanted to).

It's absolutely silly. The European style is much more rational (where the government issues the license and the ceremony is entirely separate).

(We actually signed our certificate before the ceremony. Don't tell anyone.)
posted by muddgirl at 6:47 PM on September 17, 2009


How could you not have gotten a civil union?

Yeah "civil unions" are sort of a made up word in the states to describe what gay people got to do in Vermont after the Supreme Court of the state basically said "oh hey the state constitution says that you can't discriminate against same sex couples, so you have to give them something that is pretty much marriage" and so in Vermont civil unions gave you all the same rights as marriage in the state of Vermont. This made a few things happen quickly

- opposite sex couples wanted to get civilly unionized and were told "no, you have to get married" so this wasn't an option for opposite sex couples and I think it stil isn't. Vermont now has marriage rights for same sex couples so this isn't an issue that people push right now.
- no matter what the paperwork was that you did -- same and opposite sex couples could take the same steps with slightly different paperwork and same sex couples got a civil union and opposite sex couples got a marriage
- places in VT that offered benefits to same sex couples often started saying "actually, you have to get a civil union" and places that offered benefits to domestic partner couples generally now insisted on marriage/civil unions. This was a little weird for some people.

As of September 1, Vermont has both civilly unionized same sex couples and married same sex couples, but only married opposite sex couples. Couples who have had a civil union can make the choice to get married if they wish but their unions do not automatically convert to marriages.

Yes this is ridiculous in many ways. The bills that talk about what you do and do not have to do for married couples (full faith and credit clauses) speak only to the institution of marriage, something you can enter into without a religious ceremony, but something that is different from a civil union.
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 PM on September 17, 2009


Maybe I'm still not getting it. In Canada, afaik, what ultimately determines that you are "married" is a signed legal document — contract, perhaps — with The Government. You can drape a fancy religious ceremony around it if that's what gets you off, or you can do civil ceremony with a hired Officiant, or meander down to the courthouse/city hall(?) and do it in front of whomever they've got on staff that does the deed.

If you have a religious ceremony without signing the civil contract, you're not actually "married." Essentially, you never have an exclusively religious ceremony: you always have a signing-government-documents interlude.

In the end, the government part might be what we term "civil union" and "marriage" might be the bit the religionauts want to claim for exclusive use by themselves, but the reality is that everyone casually calls long-term relationships of whatever sort as "marriage."

And even our legal system ends up treating you as if you had a full and proper civil union/marriage, if you have co-habitated long enough. (Might also need to have a shared bank account or somesuch, too; they take a "quacks like a duck" view of relationships, I guess.)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on September 17, 2009


Yeah the big deal is that our government decided at some point to call the whole thing "marriage" (for the sake of laws like benefits and survivorship and who can visit who in the hospital sorts of things) which means that some religious people feel like a marriage is something the couple does before god and a lot of other people feel that a marriage is something a couple does before the government.

There's no helpful disambiguation that says "Hey religious people can do whatever they want in their faith traditions but at the end of the day there's just the piece of paper and anyone can get it no matter what they believe in" (as long as they are a boy/girl couple in the US at the federal level, and "it depends on the state" at a state level) In real life, yes, everyone who is married has to have an official piece of paper signed by someone (an officiant) and filed somewhere (by the government). So some people make a big deal of saying "well in my faith tradition marriage is between a man and a woman" and then when you say marriage can be between any two consenting adults they can, sometimes, claim that you're changing the rules on them. And our federal government hasn't, yet, made a stand that says "Look, for the purposes of about 1000 different little legal issues, marriage is between two consenting adults of any gender. If your faith traditions don't honor that, that's your business. We should encourage loving committed relationships, period."

The step no one seems willing to take is to basically "demote" all existing US marriages to a civil union level and then let anyone who wants a religious linkage to go get one. Common law marriages are a little trickier and we usually hear about them when people are spliiting up (i.e. "we were never legally married but we were common-law married so I am laying a claim to your stuff") and not so much when people are just together and not-married.
posted by jessamyn at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2009


So it's pretty much exactly the same, except yours is choc-a-bloc with intolerant religionists?

As far as I know, once the courts ruled for equality, and the government backed equality, the hullabaloo about gay marriage quietened. Once the religious chuckleheads realized that they wouldn't have to have gay marriages in their church, they lost a lot of their fear and ignorance.

I can not imagine it would go down differently in the USA. There'd be a lot more mOrAlPaNiC!!1! and probably a few of your wingnuts would go off the deep end in the most alarming ways, but within a few years it'd probably all settle down to what passes for normalcy.

Mind, I'd have thought the same to be true about black equality, and it seems to be taking generations for lunacy about people's skin colour to die off. It's really quite pathetic how many people are so bassackwards about living in a modern multicultural society.

I guess they want a tribe, not a nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 PM on September 17, 2009


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