The Essential Irrelevance of the Full Faith and Credit Clause to the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

12 Pages Posted: 7 May 2006

Abstract

Although the Full Faith and Credit Clause is often assumed by the popular press and some legal commentators to impose a mandatory duty on states to recognize same-sex marriages validly celebrated in another state, this common assumption is clearly false. States have always retained the power to refuse to recognize some out-of-state marriages that violate their expressions of public policy. This has happened with, for example, marriages involving underage spouses or marriages that violate a state's consanguinity rules. Marriages do not stand on the same constitutional footing as litigated judgments. As a result, whether a state chooses to recognize a same-sex marriage celebrated in another state is a function of the recognizing state's law and its conflict-of-laws principles and not a matter of constitutional compulsion.

Keywords: full faith and credit, same-sex marriage, conflict of laws

JEL Classification: k10, k33, k39

Suggested Citation

Borchers, Patrick Joseph, The Essential Irrelevance of the Full Faith and Credit Clause to the Same-Sex Marriage Debate. Creighton Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 353, 2005 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=899385

Patrick Joseph Borchers (Contact Author)

Creighton University School of Law ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States
402-280-3009 (Phone)
402-280-3161 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://culaw2.creighton.edu

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