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The Conservative Case against the Federal Marriage Amendment

Engage, Volume 5, Issue 2

Can you blame conservatives for proposing the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA)? Having been deprived of their voice on social issues by the Supreme Court on several occasions, conservatives now fear that continued judicial activism will soon also foreclose democratic decision making on marriage policy. No one should be surprised that opponents of same-sex marriage have taken a big step toward ensuring that laws about marriage are made in legislatures and not in courtrooms. However, the same principles that reject the judicial imposition of uniform social policies should also lead to a rejection of the FMA. By nationalizing marriage policy, the FMA undermines the benefits of federalism, such as decisionmaking by local governments closer to the people and competition among jurisdictions offering a diversity of policies....