The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Article IV - and marriage

Article IV of the United States Constitution states: “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.” And this clause generally has been taken to mean that if you have a driver's license issued by one state, you can use it in another, or if you get married in one state, you are married everywhere else, too. But this clause has been strained by the fact that different states have decided differently with regard to the issue of same-sex marriage.

Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan, though living in the District of Columbia at the time, went to San Francisco in 2008 to take advantage of the fact that same-sex marriage was legal in California at the time. They married, and eventually bought a home in Maryland. But in 2010, they decided their marriage wasn't working, and filed for divorce. Since they remained on amicable terms, with nobody contesting the divorce, one might think this would be easy — as undoubtedly it would be if one of the women were a man. But the judge in the case decided that since Maryland did not allow same-sex marriage (a law has been passed to allow it, and signed by Governor O'Malley, but it will not take effect till next year, and still could be overturned in a referendum), the marriage was not valid, and thus he could not grant a divorce! You might think that, since the marriage was invalid, they might be satisfied — they would, in effect, have the same result as if they were divorced, namely the women were unmarried under Maryland law. But it has been pointed out that if one of them wanted to marry again in a state which legalizes same-sex marriage, she'd run the risk of being considered a bigamist.

The whole thing is very confusing. One same-sex couple has been granted a divorce in the very same courthouse where Port and Cowan were denied one. And other judges have gone both ways on the issue. So the Maryland Court of Appeals will have to decide the matter. But if this were not a same-sex couple, I'm certain that no judge would rule that a California marriage would be invalid in Maryland.

What really does Article IV mean in such a case? Will the U. S. Supreme Court eventually have to rule?

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