Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Andrew Sullivan's (Blind) Faith

Terry Eastland (see here) has joined the crowd of legal experts/commentators who worry that state or federal courts (or both) will use the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution to impose homosexual marriage on every state. I have expressed this worry many times in this blog. (See here, for example.) I'm a federalist. I believe that each state's citizens should decide for themselves whether to allow homosexual marriage. I have no problem whatsoever with states such as Massachusetts allowing it, but I don't want Texans (for example) to have no choice about whether to allow it. Let the people decide!

Andrew Sullivan, who is a bright man but not a lawyer, is confident to the point of certitude that no court will ever apply the Full Faith and Credit Clause to mandate homosexual marriage. Then why does he oppose a simple constitutional amendment that would disable the clause (i.e., make it inapplicable to homosexual marriage)? He continues to bash the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), but that amendment is not in accordance with federalist principles. The FMA would prevent any state (even Massachusetts) from allowing homosexual marriage. It would prevent it even if the vast majority of citizens of a state wanted it! If Sullivan is a federalist, as he sometimes suggests he is, he should endorse a weaker amendment that would, in effect, allow states to either allow or disallow homosexual marriage, as they see fit. Federalists both oppose the FMA and support the amendment I described.

Let me summarize. There are three positions on homosexual marriage:

1. No state should be able to allow it (i.e., it should be disallowed everywhere, even in those states--e.g., Massachusetts--in which a majority of citizens want it).

2. No state should be able to disallow it (i.e., it should be allowed everywhere, even in those states--e.g., Texas--in which a majority of citizens don't want it).

3. Each state should decide for itself whether to allow it.

Sullivan rejects 1 (which would be the result of the FMA) and implies that he accepts 3 (the federalist position); but he refuses to endorse an amendment that would preclude 2. I think he really holds position 2. That is to say, he secretly hopes that state and federal judges use the Full Faith and Credit Clause and other constitutional provisions to mandate homosexual marriage throughout the nation. It would be nice if Sullivan would clear this up for his large readership, but he refuses to engage my arguments. The closest he has come to an engagement is telling me "You're wrong." Oh well, at least he replied.

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