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Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Pam Slam On Fred Thompson

Pam over at Pam's House Blend is slamming on undeclared Presidential candidate Fred Thompson because he supports states' rights on the issue of same-gender marriage Mischaracterizing his stance on the issue by claiming that he said we need a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

What's made her coffee bitter? An interview that Thompson gave to John King of CNN where the issue of gay marriage came up. You've heard of gay marriage right? The holy grail for gays and lesbians which any candidate for President must support to deserve our vote. Thought so.

But what did Thompson really say on the issue? Here it is:
KING: You met this morning privately with some conservative activists in this state, the people who helped people win the caucuses in the past. They say that they were very comfortable with everything said in that private meeting, very comfortable with your agenda. But they say they're skeptical, that they don't want to just hear lipservice; they want to see results. And they want to know over time, as they meet you, would you a President Fred Thompson actively push a presidential amendment banning gay marriage.

THOMPSON: Yes, yes, I think that with regard to gay marriage you have a full faith and credit issue. I don't think one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring gay marriage, or allowing gay marriage, and have another state be required to follow along, under full faith and credit. There's some exceptions and exemptions for that. Hasn't happened yet, but I think a federal court very well likely will go in that direction, and a constitutional amendment would cure that. [emphasis mine, QC]
Okay boys and girls, let's look at this carefully. First of all, does anyone see the word "ban" in Thompson's answer? Anyone? I don't. Pam, do you? Moving on... King tried to get Thompson to say he is against gay marriage and supports a constitutional amendment to ban it, and by implication reverse all the progress made in states like Massachusetts and Vermont. But Thompson didn't go for that. He framed it, correctly, within the context of Federalism as a full faith and credit issue.

For those of you who don't know "full faith and credit" refers to Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, and says:
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.
The Supreme Court interprets under the following precedent: "[o]ur precedent differentiates the credit owed to laws (legislative measures and common law) and to judgments." From the Wikipedia article:
If the legal pronouncements of one state conflict with the public policy of another state, federal courts in the past have been reluctant to force a state to enforce the pronouncements of another state in contravention of its own public policy. The public policy exception has been applied in cases of marriage (such as polygamy, miscegenation, consanguinity, or gay marriage), civil judgments and orders, criminal conviction and others. In cases of out-of-state judgments, the Court has stated that there may be public policy exceptions to the Full Faith and Credit Clause, but not a "roving" public policy exception as there is for out-of-state laws.
And that is all Thompson was talking about. He did not say he wants to ban gay marriage, or overturn it where it currently exists. He merely believes, as do I, that each State should have the freedom to make its own decision in regards to same-gender marriage, and the Federal government (and courts) should stay out of it.


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