The Corner

Marriage in Canada

I think the most pressing lesson of Canadian gay marriage is the decision on the part of the federal government not to allow a patchwork solution. I have long argued that gay marriage in any state will immediately create tremendous pressure for a national solution. The only two alternatives here will be a Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and imposing it on the entire country, or passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The patchwork will not hold. Of course, this has been debated in the past, and we will be debating it again, especially after Massachusetts acts. But this is what I see as the key implication of the current move in Canada to accept the court decision and pass a law that will stop the patchwork and federalize gay marriage. My second thought is that Canada’s action will embolden the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which was very likely to legalize gay marriage in any case. Now, legal gay marriage in Massachusetts is even more likely than it already was. If the Court holds to its stated deadline, the decision will come by July 12.

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