The Corner

Full Faith and Credit

Lots of readers keep saying, “Yeah, Federalism would be great but the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires states to recognize each others’ marriages.” Well, here’s the full section:

“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.”[Emphasis Mine]

It seems to me that this says Congress can decide what sorts of contracts will be recognized. And, if it doesn’t, why not amend the constitution on this point? Rather than amend the Constitution to define marriage, why not amend the Constitution to say that each state may define marriage? I mean if we’re going to lift up the hood, why not do it in a way that is consistent with federalist principles — and hence allow different communities to organize themselves as they see fit — rather than use Washington to dictate morality to all fifty states? I’m just asking the question.

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