Constitutional Confusion: The Case for the Minnesota Marriage Amendment
30 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2007
This article makes the case for an amendment to the constitution of Minnesota defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It opens with a brief survey of the wave of litigation that has followed the United States Supreme Court opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, in which plaintiffs asserted state constitutional claims for recognition of same-sex unions as marriages. The article then explores the strengths and limits of Baker v. Nelson, a Minnesota federal district court decision rejecting any federal claim to recognition. Same-sex advocates often argue this case forecloses any attempt to force recognition of same-sex unions through Minnesota courts. I argue, however, that the threat of judicial redefinition of marriages arises from recognition by a single state district court in a class action, similar in manner to the method used to decriminalize sodomy in Minnesota, prior to Lawrence v. Texas.
Keywords: Constitutional law, Lawrence v. Texas, same sex marriage, marriage amendment
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