Friday, November 4, 2011

Just a Piece of Paper Says Florida Official

Marriage licenses are legal documents issued by the states recognizing the legal nature of a marriage. They recognize the rights that couples have in relationship to one another as well as recognize certain rights that each of the partners have. One such right is that upon marriage it is legally accepted that a spouse can change their name to reflect the name of the person to whom they are married. And, contrary to assumptions, there is no obligation to do so, and both partners have the same rights. Even though a woman traditionally changes her name to reflect that of her husband, there is nothing to prevent the opposite from happening.

If you are married in California and live in Illinois your marriage is recognized by the state of Illinois as valid. The reason for this is that the U.S. Constitution guarantees that: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records and Judicial Proceedings of every other state." Similarly a divorce granted in one state is recognized in another state. This has been the case since the Constitution was ratified.

Rachel Jolley was married in Connecticut. She went to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles—a bureaucratic hell on earth— and presented her marriage license in order to register a name change on her driver's license. She was refused service. Ann Howard, speaking on behalf of the state of Florida, said: "The out-of-state marriage certificate is a piece of paper that means nothing to the state of Florida."

Now, if a man a woman get married in Connecticut that marriage certificate is no longer just "a piece of paper," but is considered a legal document. The ONLY time this marriage certificate loses its legal validity, according to Florida, is if the couple holding the certificate are gay.

Republicans argue that the Defense of Marriage Act "protects" the States and their right to violate the equal rights of citizens. But, acts of Congress, do not trump the Constitution. Republicans have it ass-backwards and are embracing a totalitarian concept. If the legislature can pass laws superior to the Constitution then there is no restriction on the powers of Congress. The entire Constitution becomes just "a piece of paper" with no validity on any measure.

Republicans are actually arguing that there are NO restrictions on government because any law passed by the legislature is superior to any right guaranteed in the Constitution. And they call this "limited government!"

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