Today is Dish day, I guess. Go to the full article for some highlights on the arguments on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This seems like a clear cut case of federalism to me. The feds should honor any valid marriage license from any state. Period. Or we need a constitutional amendment explicitly making the regulation of marriage a federal power. Not that I want the second, but at least that would give the feds the authority they have falsely (in my view) claimed with DOMA.
The arguments today (pdf) were, for the first fifty minutes, way above my pay-grade, but helpfully elucidatedbelow. But the question of the relationship between the federal government and state governments in the definition of civil marriage is a vital one. Can these two be separated? Which one defers to the other? And why?
The core argument in defense of DOMA is that the federal government needs uniformity. Where over a thousand federal laws affect civil marriage, an American citizen needs some consistency across the states. And in 1996, as Hawaii was considering marriage equality for the first time, Mr Clement argues that this was uppermost in the minds of DOMA supporters:
MR CLEMENT: Congress in 1996 at that point says, the States are about to experiment with changing this, but the one thing we know is all these Federal statutes were passed with the traditional definition in…
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