[3/16/17] A bill introduced into the Arkansas state House of Representatives would restore the traditional definition as the law in the Natural State.
State Representative Stephen Meeks is the author of House Bill 2098, which reads, “Marriage shall be only between a man and a woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex is void.“ Moreover, “It is the public policy of the State of Arkansas to recognize the marital union only of man and woman.”
Meeks’s measure enjoys the support of at least 19 co-sponsors (including one state senator) and, should it be enacted, the bill would block recognition of same-sex unions sanctioned in other states.
Several pseudo-constitutional experts have criticized the content of the bill, claiming that it violates the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
In this matter of fundamental Constitutional importance, it is crucial to understand precisely what the Full Faith and Credit act was and was not intended to do.
First, as a matter of indisputable historical record, states have occasionally refused to acknowledge marriages legally entered into in other states. According to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, states that have valid public policy exceptions to legal acts of other states do not have to recognize those acts.
Some argue that such exceptions would disrupt the smooth and unregulated movement of citizens from state to state without having to worry about whether or not they would have to re-marry if they moved from one state to another. This is an irrational fear for as the name of the qualification implies, the public policy exception is just that — an exception. The rule that a marriage entered into in one state would be valid in another would still apply, unless that marriage violated the declared public policy of the laws of the second state.
At various times in the history of our country states have refused to recognize marriages solemnized in sister states when those marriages violated community standards for reasons such as polygamy and consanguinity. Such refusals to legitimize all marriages entered into in other states have never, despite the fear-mongering of the homosexual lobby and its shills, restricted the free and frequent movement of Americans from one state to another.
There is an additional aspect of the Full Faith and Credit Clause that would protect states from being Constitutionally forced to give legal effect to homosexual unions contracted in other states: the text of the clause itself.
The exact wording of the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires that states give “full faith and credit” to the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”
Marriages, strictly speaking, are not judicial acts, they are licensed acts and as such they do not fall under the Full Faith and Credit umbrella, any more than a license to practice law in one state guarantees that same right in a neighboring state.
The Full Faith and Credit Clause, then, does not require one state to validate a same-sex unions entered into in another, but actually protects it from having to do so. All of this without the need of a Constitutional amendment!