Santorum Would Try To Nullify All Existing Gay Marriages

Rick Santorum wants to nullify nearly 200,000 marriages.

This doesn’t sound very pro-family to me:

There are 18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July.

Rick Santorum says he’ll try to unmarry all of them if he’s elected president.

Once the U.S. Constitution is amended to prohibit same-gender marriages, “their marriage would be invalid,” the former Pennsylvania senator said Dec. 30 in an NBC News interview.

“We can’t have 50 different marriage laws in this country,” he said. “You have to have one marriage law.”

Funny. That’s exactly the system we have had in this country for 200-odd years, and it seems to work out just fine. We have fifty states and they each have their own marriage laws. Some of them allow first cousins to marry, others don’t. Some still require a blood test before getting married, most no longer have that requirement. Some states allow anyone to get married, others require some period of residence in the state.  Some states recognize common law marriage. And, now, eight states and the District of Columbia (as well as a few Indian Tribes) allow same-sex couples to get married.

This country has survived for more than two centuries without a national marriage law, why do we need one now? More importantly, why do we need to sully our Constitution with such an issue? The answer, it strikes me, is pretty easy to figure out. People like Santorum who support a Federal Marriage Amendment do so because they realize that, in the long term, they are going to lose the debate over the same-sex marriage. Demographically, it will happen as younger generations that view the idea of two men or two women getting married as no big deal get older. Politically, we are reaching the point where the momentum in favor of same-sex marriage will become overwhelming in a short period of time. Legally, the arguments for bans on same-sex marriage are being recognized as complete nonsense by court after court.

It won’t be much longer before the forces arrayed against same-sex marriage find themselves on the losing end of the argument, and there won’t be much they can do about it. That’s why they’ve come up with the utterly ridiculous idea of a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as only being between one man and one woman. If they were somehow able to get the thing ratified, it would enshrine their ideal world into law in a manner that would make it very hard to dislodge. The odds that they will ever actually succeed in getting this Amendment ratified are somewhere between slim and none, of course, but one can certainly understand why they’re proposing it. They’re going to lose this debate eventually, and they know it, and a Constitutional Amendment is the only thing that could stop the inevitable from occurring.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Law and the Courts, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. merl says:

    you have to wonder what’s wrong with a man who is so obsessed with gay sex.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Let’s amend the Constitution to create a permanent group of second class citizens. Good idea. I am sure that is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind.

    I sleep better knowing that conservatives are fighting to keep the government off of the backs of the people.

  3. Ernieyeball says:

    Ricky Dink and his ilk are proposing this because they are Control Freaks! They want the Federal Government to do their controlling for them because they truly believe God wants them to do this.
    These are dangerous people. They are a threat to the Republic. They must be defeated at the polls!

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    @merl: I sometimes wonder if Ricky was abused by Priests when he was young.

  5. tps says:

    I’m all for a marriage amendment to the constitution. One that would say that all marriages that take place after its enacted are legal only if you and your partner/s have a civil license. Religious ceremonies and the like are therefore ceremonial.

    Everybody is equal then.

  6. Kylopod says:

    People like Santorum who support a Federal Marriage Amendment do so because they realize that, in the long term, they are going to lose the debate over the same-sex marriage.

    Proposing amendments is also the political version of fool’s gold, and the politicians know it. It’s a convenient way to fake commitment to an issue one knows has absolutely no chance of ever passing. As anyone with even marginal familiarity with our system knows, amending the constitution is extremely hard even for things which command majority support from the public, such as abolition of the Electoral College. I’m sure Bush realized the FMA had no realistic chance of ratification when he backed it in 2004, and that was before polls began to show majority support for same-sex marriage. He saw it as a convenient way of mobilizing his evangelical supporters, not as a serious plan he believed stood a chance of ever becoming law. The trouble is that we’re quickly reaching the point where this empty promise will no longer even be politically advantageous.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Then let’s rip the children from those parents and stick them in orphanages! Yay conservatism!

  8. David says:

    After being together for 15 years, my partner and I got married in Connecticut on Thursday. We’ve been together longer than most marriages last, we’ve done the richer and poorer and the sickness and health thing, and have emerged stronger for it. He is there for my family, and I am there for his. So, to Mr. Santorum, I respectfully say, bite me.

  9. @anjin-san:

    I am sure that is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind.

    Actually, I think that is what the founders had in mind, hence the need for the 13th -15th ammendments and the various events leading up to them.

  10. Hey Norm says:

    @ David….
    Congratulations!!!!

    The Republicans love states rights…until they disagree with the states decisions. Then they know better. The same peoe would deport millions of hard working people too. If you ain’t a old wealthy white straight suburbanite they don’t even want to think you exist. And if you’re a woman on contraception evidently you are a slut.
    Nice big tent they got there.

  11. Republic of equality says:

    It has been said that the ones who are most obsessed with the nullification of Homosexual marriages and desire to rid the world of Homosexuals are themselves secretly Homosexual or as pop culture would put it “In the closet”. This is coming from a Lesbian who has seen many Homophobes emerge from the proverbial closet.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    States Rights is and always has been utter b.s.. A justification for slavery, then Jim Crow, now anti-gay bigotry.

    The very concept of states is a ridiculous anachronism. North Dakota is a state? Please. North Dakota is barely a county, but the they get the same number of senators as California despite having less than two percent of the population.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Toss ND, SD, WY, ID, NE and MT together, maybe you have a state.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    In fact, here are my states: California, Northwest Rain Country, Desert Tribes, Mountainonia, Freezer, Texas, Florida, Hillbilly Commonwealth, Deep South, New York, Leftovers, and New England.*

    *New Jersey intentionally omitted until they get rid of The Situation.

  15. @michael reynolds:

    States don’t have rights, only individuals can have rights; states have powers.

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ Stormy Dragon

    Slavery was an established institution at the time the Constitution. Santorum wants to use the Constitution as a weapon to strip gays/lesbians of hard won civil rights gains that are currently in place.

    I don’t put myself forth as a Constitutional scholar, but my read is that the founders left the status quo regarding slavery in place, dancing around actual use of the words “slave” or “slavery”, i.e. they allowed the existing oppression of slaves to continue and rolled it into the legal framework they were creating.

    What Santorum wants to do is is use the Constitution to turn back the clock and reduce the level of freedom currently enjoyed by a subset of American citizens on a permanent basis. In my mind, they are two different things.

  17. Kylopod says:

    States Rights is and always has been utter b.s.. A justification for slavery, then Jim Crow, now anti-gay bigotry.

    How is Santorum invoking states’ rights here? He’s saying to hell with the states.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    I was bouncing off an earlier comment.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Michael, you forgot Ozarkistan.

  20. David says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’d vote for you to be president for life of the new country of Ozarkistan.

  21. Robert in SF says:

    @David: Congrats@ My boyfriend and I have been together for 9 years this June. Are you by any chance out here in California?

    @tps: I think that is the current situation (a civil permit for getting married and having the State recognize it…barring common law marriages which have other purely legal requirements before the State say yes.). So marriage is also a sacrament, or religious ceremony, but the person marrying them is usually shown to say, By the Power vested in me by the State of …., I now pronounce you…

    However, don’t they have to sign a marriage certificate and witnesses have to sign as well, before the law says that they are married?

  22. Donniej says:

    Wow. What a deeply immoral, anti-family belief.

    Keep your pious sanctimonious nose away from my family Rick Santorum.

  23. TonyW says:

    @merl: Not a thing – he was born that way

  24. All of the above is completely beside the point (although I love it, don’t get me wrong). Rick Santorum has made himself completely unelectable, and he doesn’t care because he’d rather be (extremely far, far, far) right than be President.

  25. merl says:

    @Ron Beasley: I’ve been thinking the same thing. I was just waiting for someone else to say it.

  26. @michael reynolds:

    My idea for an ammendment:

    1. At the time this ammendment is ratified, states with a population of more than 10 million shall be divided into states with a population of no more than 10 million each.
    a. California shall be divided into four states.
    b. Texas shall be divided into three states.
    c. New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio shall be divided into two states each.

    2. At the time this ammendment is ratified, states with a population of less than 1 million shall be merged as follows:
    a. Montana and Wyoming shall be merged into a single state.
    b. North and South Dakota shall be merged into a single state.
    c. Delaware shall be merged into a single state with Maryland.
    d. Alaska shall be merged into a single state with Washington.
    e. Vermont shall be merged into a single state with New Hampshire.

    3. Subsequent to the ratification of this ammendment and at the time of each decennial census:
    a. All states with a population above 10 million shall be divided into two states.
    b. All states with a population less than 1 million shall be merged with their least populous neighbor.

    4. Congress shall have the power to pass legislation necessary for the implementation of this ammendment.

  27. @Stormy Dragon:

    So far the only flaw I’ve come up with the plan (other than it being unlikely to pass) is that Los Angeles County, at a population 9.8 million, is in danger of being too big to be a state.

  28. rodney dill says:

    ….just when you thought nothing could be stranger than Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke.

  29. anjin-san says:

    ….just when you thought nothing could be stranger than Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke.

    What is strange about it? It’s pretty consistent with a lot of what we see coming from the far right. The entire conservative movement has become a freak show. This is just one more act taking place under the big top…

  30. JohnMcC says:

    For someone who has saturated his mind in “natural law” theology it is obvious that there is a divine logic at work in the affairs of men and that, using reason, one can discover that logic. For Mr Santorum his fellows the State exists for a divine reason which is to assist we who are citizens for Salvation. If the State doesn’t do that it might just as well not exist.

    It is thanks to the Enlightenment that we here have an intuitive feeling that the State exists to preserve our freedoms not our souls. And along comes Mr Santorum to remind us that what we believe is really a new and shocking idea: Liberty.

  31. Ron Beasley says:

    @merl: Me too but I figured I’d waited long enough!

  32. An Interested Party says:

    Then let’s rip the children from those parents and stick them in orphanages!

    Don’t forget, those children can clean the buildings where they go to school…

  33. David says:

    @Robert in SF: Nope, not in California, fighting the good fight in Missouri. Changing people’s minds one person at a time.

  34. Robert in SF says:

    @David: Well congrats!
    And as for Missouri, I am only sure of one things: it’s the setting for Mama’s Family…Raytown, Missouri!
    🙂

  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    This was an eye-roller for me until I read Kylopod’s comment. Now I’m convinced it’s brilliant, and hope it gets tons of support.

    As Kylopod noted, the chances of an amendment actually passing are somewhere between zero and negative gazillion. So let them put all their efforts into that futile effort. It’ll keep them from getting into real mischief.

    Go, Santorum! Go, no gay marriage amendment!

  36. ernieyeball says:

    Art. IV Sec. 3 Clause 1
    New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

    Looks like restructuring the States is actually provided for in the US Constitution without a Constitutional Amendment! Of course any realignment would have to include the States of Freedonia and Sylvania!

  37. @ernieyeball:

    without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States

    This is why the ammendment is necessary. I’m prosing a system that applies an upper and lower bound to how big a state can be that activates without the consent of the states involved.

  38. G.A. says:

    you have to wonder what’s wrong with a man who is so obsessed with gay sex.

    Who Doug? lol….

  39. ernieyeball says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Go for it!

  40. J-Dub says:

    @merl: That’s the point, there’s nothing wrong with it!

  41. J-Dub says:

    Doubt that Santorum is gay?

    He has a fundraising website called Conservatives Unite Moneybomb (CUM). He first launched CUM on the internet back in January and has been accepting CUM deposits ever since. You can use the website, or if you are lucking enough to run into him he may accept your CUM donation personally!

    https://www.ricksantorum.com/unite/

  42. Lenny Bruce says:

    To is a preposition, come is a verb.

  43. J-Dub says:

    @Lenny Bruce: urbandictionary.com: cum 1. n. Semen
    2. v. To orgasm

  44. Lenny Bruce says:

    @J-Dub: I’ve been dead for 45 years. What the hell is an urbandictionary.com?

  45. J-Dub says:

    @Lenny Bruce: It’s the online dictionary for all the words you won’t find in Webster’s. It a must-have for any parent trying to interpret what their kids are saying behind their backs. I’m pretty sure you might find the alternative definition for “Santorum” in there too.

  46. Alanmt says:

    Excellent. Maybe we Montanans can convince our neighbors in Idaho to merge with us. We should anglicize our state name to “mountain” because the spanish language is unamerican and combine the two state names to create the new state of mountaho.

  47. Ankhorite says:

    @michael reynolds: Breadbasket. You forgot the great central Plains state of Breadbasket.

  48. Ankhorite says:

    @doug mataconis — nice column, thanks for posting! — but I don’t think we have any common law marriage states at this time. Last I heard, Pennsylvania was the last of them, and PA got rid of its common law marriage statute around 2005 or so, for fear that gay people would start using it to get their marriages recognized. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I think we WILL see a Constitutional amendment proposed to ban gay marriage — because, like abortion, this issue is a reliable money-raiser for the profiteers of the Right.

    These are fights they don’t actually want to win, so long as one more dollar can be milked from one little old lady who falls for their hate speech and outright lies.

  49. al-Ameda says:

    It most certainly is not about principle with Rick Santorum.

    How surprising is it that Santorum – who is so stridently opposed to abortion, and whose wife had an abortion – would also come out strongly against Gay Marriage? Frankly, I’m surprised that he didn’t also propose a constitutional amendment requiring us to wear American Flag Lapel Pins.