Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010

       You can argue whether same-sex marriage is good or bad.  But there's a related and also interesting question:  who gets to decide?      A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled this past week that a law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.  Judge Joseph Tauro wrote, "This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth (Massachusetts) to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals...any benefits, rights and privileges to which they are entitled...The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched power of the state."      The judge bases his ruling on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."      Well, a quick browse through the Constitution by this non-expert found no references to marriage--gay, straight, whatever.  So the judge's ruling seems to have a certain logic: if the Constitution doesn't say it's federal, it's up to the states.      The argument, of course, is likely to continue and end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
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