Sanity Check on Marriage

Is there anyone out there on either side of the marriage debate who actually believes both (1) that the Constitution bars the federal government from defining marriage, for purposes of provisions of federal law only, as a male-female union, and (2) that the Constitution allows states to so define marriage for purposes of state law? Is there anyone out there who even believes that someone could coherently hold both positions?

My questions are prompted by assurances like those offered yesterday by the Second Circuit majority (see point 3 here) that the question whether DOMA violates equal protection “is distinct” from the question whether traditional state marriage laws do. I don’t dispute that the questions involve somewhat different applications of whatever standard of review is deemed to apply. For example, the governmental interests that come most clearly into play may well be different for the federal government than for the states. But in the larger scheme it strikes me as ludicrous to imagine that any intelligent judge might answer the DOMA question one way and the state marriage law question another. And I strongly suspect that this is one point on which I and the proponents of same-sex marriage are in agreement.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More