Re: Representative Weber in Defense of Marriage

Following up on Gerry Bradley’s post from yesterday about HR 3829, the State Defense of Marriage Act introduced by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), have a look at Gerry’s fuller explanation of the need for this law in the wake of the Windsor ruling, at Public Discourse today:

Since Windsor, the [Obama] administration has followed the marriage definition of a couple’s domicile state in a few cases—but only, as far as I can tell, where a program-specific directive from Congress leaves it no choice. The Copyright Act, for example, states plainly that when an author dies, ownership rights shift to the “surviving spouse” according to the “domicile” state’s law. The Social Security Administration is likewise bound, as is the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to follow the marriage laws of the state in which a couple is domiciled.

This partial practice shows that “domicile” is a familiar and usable concept. But the administration has nonetheless announced that it will ignore the Veterans’ law. And most federal agencies have decided to treat a couple as “married” if they participated in any legally recognized marriage ceremony, anywhere in the United States. The IRS, the Defense Department, the Departments of State and Education—among others—have adopted this state-of-celebration practice.

These agencies have no inherent legal authority to define marriage. Neither does the President or his Attorney General, so long as Congress has exercised its paramount authority to do so. The State Marriage Defense Act will thus restore proper legal order to the scene and correct the administration’s unlawful practice.

Read the rest here.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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