Conservatives have used the argument of “states rights” to try and combat all kinds of top-down Washington imposed laws. The Civil Rights Act, Clean Air/Water Act, Health Care Reform; all of these have been challenged or are still being challenged on the notion that the federal government can’t dictate to individual states laws that address issues not specifically identified in the constitution as federal concerns. STATES RIGHTS! 10th Amendment. That is the chant.
Well, conservatives should remember to be careful what they wish for. A federal judge in Boston overturned the Defense of Marriage Act precisely because it infringed on… States Rights!
“This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status,” Judge Tauro wrote in the case brought by Ms. Coakley. “The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state.”
So if states, like Massachusetts want to validate same-sex marriages, the feds can’t stop them. A simple case of states rights. Ah, the irony.