But the Conquered, or their Children, have no Court, no Arbitrator on Earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephtha did, to Heaven, and repeat their Appeal, till they have recovered the native Right of their Ancestors, which was to have such a Legislative over them, as the Majority should approve, and freely acquiesce in.
-John Locke

Monday, June 27, 2011

So Close to Being a Federalist, Yet So Far

Only Obama could screw up federalism.  Last week while he was busy not being the president and instead raising campaign funds, he proclaimed that gay marriage was an issue best left to the states.  We know that Obama loves to lecture and hates to take a stand on important matters, but as often is the case when he decides to wade into issues, he totally muffs it.

Without getting into a discussion on the merits of gay marriage, the fact is that gay marriage is an issue that simply cannot be left to the states.  During the last century, many states outlawed interracial marriages.  This created a problem, as an interracial couple who were married lawfully in state A could not have their marriage recognized in state B (where such marriage was illegal), at least so thought state B.  Ultimately the Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause required al states to recognize interracial marriages.

So, although through the Court and not through Congress, the issue of whether all states had to recognize interracial marriages was decided at the federal level.  While the gay community has not endured the same kind of historical inequality as certain races have in America (well, perhaps the black gay community has), I fail to see how gay marriage presents any differently to the Constitution.  In short, how on earth does this issue get decided ultimately at any level other than the federal one?

Obama tried to hide from the issue by channeling his inner Madison and promoting federalism as the answer.  Astounding that a President who has tried to expand the role of the federal government beyond many of its previous limits, the main promoter of Obamacare, could have the temerity to suggest that gay marriage is an issue best left to the states.

Of course, because one of the hallmarks of this administration is rushing in and then getting burned by the unintended consequences, if you click on the link at the beginning of this post and scroll down and read the comments left on the TP site, it becomes clear that Obama didn't help his cause out any with this pronouncement.

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