Here’s Your Constitutional Crisis

A Gay Couple in Tennessee tried to get the name changed on thier drivers licenses, and were denied.

Just like that, you have a constitutional crisis.

The US Constitution, Article IV, Section 1:

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.

That means that if you get married in California, you are married in Tennessee. However, Congress can say what it means in another state to be married. Congress says in the DoMA:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

On one hand, Congress is fulfilling its role under Article IV by stating that there is no proof possible that two men or two women can be married, and even if there was, there isn’t any effect anyway. On the other hand, Article IV says that if one state marries them, they are married.

The only outcome I can see for this, when it gets to the Supreme Court (and it will) is that the Court rules that the DoMA is unconstitutional. You want to know where the impetus for George’s Marriage Amendment is going to come from? It is going to come from that ruling.

I think I just realized that it has a very good chance of being ratified. San Francisco peed in the pool and made it possible.

(Via Unca Monkey)


  1. Except there’s a long string of federal case law ruling that marriage doesn’t constitute a public act, record, or judicial proceeding.’

  2. Say Uncle says:

    Monkey’s Uncle

    I’ve been called Unca Monkey and am now I am on the MonkeyWatch….

  3. Xrlq says:

    That’s not necessarily true, but this makes for a lousy test case. The “marriage” in question is clearly invalid under the laws of California, so it can’t be entitled to full faith and credit anywhere else – even in a state that allows gay marriage.