H.R.3313 passed the House today with a vote of 233 to 194. What is H.R.3313? It is an attempt by (mostly) social conservative Republicans to "contain" homosexual marriage. See, gay folk are getting married in Massachusetts. Under the full faith & credit clause of the Constitution, marriages from one state must be respected in any other state. (As should drivers licenses and other contracts.) Under the Defense of Marriage Act (and several state laws such as California's Knight Initiative) states don't necessarily have to recognize other states homosexual marriages. This undermines the FF&CC though. Obviously, it is only a matter of time before a gay, married couple moves from Massachusetts to say, California. Lawsuits will ensue. The FF&CC and the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment will come out on top, and recognition of homosexual marriages will be "forced upon" all fifty states. I know this; social conservatives know this- this is where H.R.3313 steps in.
H.R.3313 will ban the Supreme Court from hearing cases regarding the DoMA. To put it another way, the House of Representatives narrowly voted in the exact opposite of that whole "checks and balances" notion. The sheer gall of these representatives to try and strip jurisdiction of laws from the Supreme Court is nothing if not appalling. The slippery slope they risk of course, is that under their reasoning, Congress can now strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction in any hot-button issue. How would these right-wingers feel if the Supreme Court was stripped of it's jurisdiction over gun laws? Or abortion? Or anything these fuckwit hypocrites disagree with? They'd decry how liberals had no respect for our system or Constitution. They'd say these people weren't fit to serve in Congress. They'd give ammo for Rush Limbaugh to bitch about for years to come. Truth be told though, they'd be right.
The issue has not yet come up in the Senate, and it certainly hasn't been signed into law yet. I don't really think it will be though. The Senate usually acts a little more responsibly than the House with regards to unconstitutional laws. (Thus the aforementioned slippery slope will likely never become a real risk.) Additionally, even if this thing were to pass both houses, and become law, it's plainly unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court's very existence (as spelled out in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution) would be called into question. It would delay the inevitable acceptance of homosexual marriages, but would not prevent it. (You know, if it weren't such an important issue, I'd think of the social conservatives quest to kill gay marriage as somewhat quaint and Quixotic.)
The Washington Post has a good article on the situation here. (registration is unfortunately required.)
Current Music: The Simpsons- "Amendment to be"