Download This Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Peculiar Federal Marriage Amendment

22 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2007 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012

Scott Dodson

University of California Hastings College of the Law


In this essay, I discuss the Constitution's commitment to three themes - state power over familial matters, individual liberty, and equality - and then demonstrate how the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is uniquely contrary to all three. I do not intend to go so far as to suggest that the FMA would be an unconstitutional amendment, if such things are possible, nor do I mean to suggest that same-sex marriage is or should be affirmatively protected by the Constitution. I mean only to suggest that proposed amendments altering the Constitution's commitment to multiple existing themes in the Constitution should be scrutinized warily for thematic coherence. Because the FMA is contrary to three existing constitutional themes while furthering no other, the FMA would be a decidedly peculiar appendage to our modern Constitution.

Keywords: federal marriage amendment, marriage protection amendment, Lawrence, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, constitutional thematics

Suggested Citation

Dodson, Scott, The Peculiar Federal Marriage Amendment. Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 36, p. 783, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Scott Dodson (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-581-8959 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Paper statistics

Abstract Views