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Arkansas and the War Between the States: Civil Unions and Same Sex Marriage
Arkansas Law Notes (2009)
  • Chauncey Brummer

The same-sex marriage debate raises issues of Federalism similar to those of the abolition of slavery during the American Civil War. Different policies between states regarding same-sex marriages have caused confusion over the validity of a couple’s union rights when traveling interstate. Arkansas not only bars same-sex marriage, but also constitutionally forbids any legal status between same-sex couples. The Full Faith and Credit Clause guarantees interstate recognition of state court cases, but not legislation. Any rights a couple may have under one state may not be treated similarly in others. Federal legislation that binds the states on social policy invites popular opposition, as it did in 1995 when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. As more states, like Massachusetts and Iowa, legalize same-sex marriage, states like Arkansas will accept some kind of civil union or acknowledge the policies of their sister states. Without such changes, history will judge us just as slaveholders from the Civil War are judged today.

  • Civil Unions,
  • Same-Sex Marriage,
  • Gay Marriage,
  • Federalism,
  • Interstate.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Chauncey Brummer. "Arkansas and the War Between the States: Civil Unions and Same Sex Marriage" Arkansas Law Notes Vol. 2009 (2009)
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