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Obama doesn't care about equality
"The constitutional propriety of Congress's decision to decline to extend federal benefits immediately to newly recognized types of marriages is bolstered by Congress's articulated interest in preserving the scarce resources of both the federal and State governments."

I thought Obama was better than this. I thought he gave at least half a shit about his campaign policies. Perhaps McCain would have been better, at least then we'd know we were getting a slug in the white house and could plan accordingly. The last 6 months have been an abject failure for civil rights and I fear it'll only get worse.


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Well, that's an interesting topic, one that's been hotly contested since 1789 (cf.: Whiskey Rebellion, Civil War). In theory, all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government are vested in the states. Congress has found ways around this in certain arenas through its control of the purse strings (e.g., the drinking age being 21) and through somewhat tortured interpretations of the Commerce Clause (e.g., labor laws, drug laws). That said, in general, federal law supercedes state law, should they conflict. So, the feds could enforce pot prohibitions, since the federal Controlled Substances Act supersedes California's Prop 215. But, the Federal government has chosen not to strictly enforce laws against marijuana in states with medical pot laws.

There's not, to my knowledge, any legal precedent for the federal government having any business in marriage. Article IV of the Constitution says that the public acts of one state (like marriages, divorces, judicial decisions, driver licences, &c.) must be recognized by the other states, and by extension, by the federal government. And by not specifically investing in Congress the power to regulate marriage, divorce, &c, the federal government has no legal say whatsoever in the carrying out of such acts. In a perfect world, all marriages would be recognized in all states (state level Defence of Marriage Acts being unconstitutional since they conflict with Article IV) and we could all get equal federal benefits.

But, the federal Defence of Marriage Act says that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid for federal purposes (taxes, immigration, &c.). This is, on its face, a violation of Article IV. However, no group has challenged it in federal court since the Supreme Court has a cro-magnon majority and would likely uphold it in the face of the Constitution in order to satisfy its own biases.

We saw this previously with inter-racial marriages. It took enough states permitting black folk to marry white folk and a sane Supreme Court to finally affirm that yes, marriage is a state power, and yes, the federal government and all other states must recognize such marriages, and by the way, to prohibit inter-racial marriage would be a violation of the whole 'equality' thing. In time, the same logic will apply to same-sex marriages.

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