" The calls from the right for a national marriage law aren't about shielding other states from being
forced to honor gay unions conducted in Massachusetts or Vermont or Hawaii. Congress cut off that possibility seven years
ago by passing the Defense of Marriage Act ....
But conservatives now want a federal law - or better yet, a constitutional amendment - that would block
the states from deciding for themselves who gets to marry whom. ...
The principles for mediating between state and federal authority come down squarely on the side of Massachusetts's
authority to decide whether to legalize gay unions inside its borders. It's one thing for Congress or a federal court to stop
a state from refusing to grant rights guaranteed by the Constitution, as the Supreme Court did in Loving. It's another to
say a state can't grant more rights than are available under federal law. "
By EMILY BAZELON
Wednesday, November 26, 2003 -- It took conservatives about two minutes to call for Congress to outlaw
gay marriage across the land after the Massachusetts high court's decision making way for same-sex unions. Liberals, on the
other hand, congratulated the state court for boldly doing its own thing. In other words, the right and the left quickly swapped
sides in the debate over when federal power should give way to state sovereignty. ...
Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Legal Affairs magazine.
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