Full Faith and Credit Clause
I think the most predominant subject that comes to mind involving the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U. S. Constitution centers around “same-sex marriages.
” The argument in this issue centers around whether a gay couple who gets married in Massachusetts would/should be recognized as legally married in any other state they move to. I am sure the framers of the Constitution could never have imagined that some 200+ years later, that the original intent of Article IV Section 1 of the Constitution, the “Full Faith and Credit Clause,” could possibly undergo the scrutiny it has had to endure in recent years.
The word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. The Constitution specifically delineates that no State shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of any other State, or any right or claim arising from such relationship.
If “same-sex marriages” have become legally acceptable in some states, then those couples should enjoy those benefits in the states in which they are considered to be legal. States are granted the right to determine those laws that have effect on their own citizens, and, should a gay married couple wish to reside in a state where same-sex marriages are not legal by law in that state, then they must accept the law in that state as binding on them. Any state that chooses to not recognize same-sex marriages within their own constitution certainly has that right under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
Until at such time someone finds a way to challenge the constitutionality of the Clause, gay couples will have to resign themselves being able to practice their chosen lifestyle, but without the benefits of such union in states where it is deemed illegal. In further support of this issue, I believe that the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) (1996) is unconstitutional on its face. DOMA violates principles of equal protection and due process. A strong case can also be made that DOMA abuses the Full Faith and Credit Clause and contravenes fundamental principles of federalism.
Since there are relatively similar laws enacted in all 50 states, with only small differences between most of them, I see no reason that the Full Faith and Credit Clause should be held applicable to the issue of same-sex marriages. I find it difficult to imagine how the Court could find excluding same-sex couples from the definition of marriage unconstitutional without creating a constitutional requirement that same-sex couples be allowed to marry. Therefore, I believe that the Constitution guarantees each and every one of us the right to choose to marry the one we love.
The fact that they are of the same sex should not deprive those individuals of the same rights and privileges of other citizens merely because it violates some individuals morals or beliefs. Since the Constitution itself does not actually delineate the definition of marriage, I believe that all attempts that deprive gay people certain rights not otherwise deprived of other individuals violates the spirit of the Constitution, and abuses the Full Faith and Credit Clause therein.