The Corner

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney Are Right About Adoption

… and Terence Jeffrey is wrong. Adoption, like marriage, is not a matter the Constitution commits to federal government control. It is, like the vast run of day-to-day issues, a matter to be determined by the states. There is nothing conservative about imposing federal government mandates on matters the Constitution gives the federal government no say over.

If gay marriage is to be banned, it should be done, as Sen. Santorum and Gov. Romney said, by a constitutional amendment. That is the proper way of establishing a national standard when we decide we need to have one and the Constitution does not presently provide one.

As Rick and Mitt went on to say, if there were a federal marriage amendment in place and it did not address adoption, then marriage would be limited to man/woman couples but adoption would be a state law issue.

If Mr. Jeffrey wants a federal adoption standard imposed, then he should be arguing for a constitutional amendment banning adoptions by gay couples. But assuming the hypothetical that Rick and Mitt were addressing — a marriage amendment and no adoption amendment — there is nothing incoherent or inconsistent about positing that gay marriage would not be recognized nationally and adoption by gay couples would be decided by the states. That is how federalism works.

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