Should Marriage Be Left To The States? Essays

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My short answer is "no", but let me explain. Before answering what I think the situation should be, it is helpful to look at what the situation is. Currently family law is a matter left to a great extent to the states. States have the power to decide who may marry, the legal process required to do so, and what the legal consequences of that marriage are within the state. In all these matters states differ from each other. The state is limited in its actions, though, to the requirement of its own constitution as well as the constitution of the United States. What those constitutions require is often a matter of great debate, but the ultimate judge is the state's highest court for matters pertaining to its own constitution, and…show more content…
This extends to judgements of divorce. It generally does not apply to statutes or to kinship status. See for example this 1915 case of Hood v. McGehee where the court ruled a Lousiana adoption did not give the children rights to inherit Alabama land. I do not believe the Supreme Court has explicitly addressed the issue of marriage recognition, but states have repeatedly refused to recognize marriages from sister states. A lower federal court in 1879 in Ex parte Kinney also addressed this issue and confirmed that a state need to accept a sister state marriage. That states generally do accept sister state marriages (and other foreign marriages) is a matter of local policy. There are good reasons for generally accepting marriages. That is why some states (like NY or CT) which do not have a policy against SSM are likely to fully recognize same-sex marriages from MA. Now FFaC would, as I understand it, require that a state recognize a valid court judgement from another state even if it stemmed from a suit which depended on the existence of a same-sex marriage. The guiding principle of FFaC seems to be that each state is sovreign and has the right to control the laws in its own state, but not those of another state. Still, as we are one union, a state is required to take into consideration the interests of a sister state, in addition to its own interests, in deciding matters where both states have an interest. Thus there seems to be almost no question that a
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