The Corner

The Lungren Amendment

Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.) is getting set to introduce his own version of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It would read as follows:

SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of a legal union of one man and one woman.

SEC. 2. No court of the United States or of any State shall have jurisdiction to determine whether this Constitution or the constitution of any State requires that the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon any union other than a legal union between one man and one woman.

SEC. 3. No State shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State concerning a union between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage, or as having the legal incidents of marriage, under the laws of such other State.

From reading it (and listening to Lungren describe its aims), it sounds a lot like the Federal Marriage Amendment. Lungren says he “tried to take a fresh look . . . to see what would pass muster not only with the Congress but to bulletproof it against the courts.” He says that the drafting has benefited from his experience of serving as California’s attorney general. Referring to his legislative director and himself, he says, “We’ve had to go through the ninth circuit many times and realize how they can torture the language.”

Lungren says, “If you would have asked me 5 years ago if we would ever get involved with this, I would have said no. But it has been forced upon us”–forced, he says, by the courts. “It’s not a radical notion. It’s a response to a radical notion.”

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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