The Corner

One Reason I Haven’t Weighed In

on this Goldberg-Sullivan controversy about the Virginia bill: I have no idea what the bill would do. I don’t know if the supporters of the bill believe that it would have the effects its opponents claim (such as voiding purely private contracts entered by same-sex couples outside Virginia); I don’t know, if there is a disagreement, who is right. The key question is: What does the phrase “purporting to bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage” mean? Is this analogous to the “legal incidents of marriage” I spent so much time debating over the last year? Depending on the answer, the bill could be persecution (Sullivan says that’s “the only interpretation of the law”); it could be mostly meaningless; or it could have some meaning I haven’t figured out yet. I’ve got some calls out to try to gain some understanding.

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

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