Terry, Case: Homosexual Marriage Issue

Memo

To: Terry

From: Florida Court

Date: November 16, 2013

Re: Terry, Case – Homosexual Marriage Issue

Facts

Terry and Carlos have been engaged in a homosexual marriage for five years.

Issue

This memorandum discusses the statutes that Florida based court will use to oppose Terry’s appeal as a partner to Carlos. Carlos had an accident while travelling through Florida. His condition is hopeless and doctors want authorization from a person close to him to terminate his life. There are two options involved, either Terry, who is the supposed spouse, or Ben, his only relative whom he had not seen for 20 years. The judge of Florida court ruled out that Terry should not be involved in making such a decision terming it unconstitutional.

Discussion

Carlos and Terry were engaged in a homosexual marriage in the state of Vermont in the United States. However, there is no evidence to show that indeed the two were partners. This is because their marriage was not legalized in the state of Florida, even if it involved same-sex partners. Although the Florida Statutes, the Defence of Marriage Act, part IV makes it clear that Florida should recognize same sex marriages as it is legally sanctioned in other states, Florida does not recognize such intimacies as marriages.

The Supreme Court IV amendment of Faith and Credit Clause states, “The full faith and credit clause does not require one state to substitute for its own statute, applicable to persons and events within it, the conflicting statute of another state”. In this case, a homosexual marriage that was legally recognized in another state, in this case the state of Vermont, does not have validity in Florida. This is because Florida is one of the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Thus, Terry cannot be regarded as Carlos’ partner. A homosexual licence issued by the state of Vermont is not valid in Florida as the state defines marriage to be between opposite sexes.

Article IV, section 1 provides a clear guideline that the judgement that has been rendered in one state should be given utmost honour and respect in any other state. However, in this scenario, Terry did not present his complaint to the state of Vermont where they got married before the accident. Therefore, it is the mandate of Florida court to consider available evidence and deliver the judgement. In this case, the judge ruled out that Terry cannot be involved in deciding whether Carlos, presumably his partner, should be subjected to such a condition, terming such a statute unconstitutional.

Article IV section 1b, the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved. This clause gives a federal court the power to decide how certain cases may be handled based on the records or proceedings that the complaint is able to approve. By the virtue that Carlos and Terry were considered a couple in the state of Vermont that does not in any way compel the state of Florida to bend its rule on homosexuality. Hence, Terry cannot be regarded to have had any legal relationship with Carlos that can allow him to make such a critical decision.

Article IV, section 2 states, the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states and Florida is not exceptional as everyone from another state is entitled to his or her rights. However, in order to make certain judgments, it is important to put into consideration the issue at hand and alternatives involved. For instance, why would Terry want to make a decision whether doctors should “pull the plug” instead of leaving that to his relative Ben?

In summary, the judge at the Florida court passed a judgement that Terry is not the rightful person to decide the fate of Carlos. Determined to continue in his bid, Terry seeks to file a complaint in court based on Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States’ Constitution (Article IV, Section 1). The state of Florida does not recognise same-sex marriage. Article IV section 1b states that the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved. Hence, Florida court does not have faith in Terry as the rightful partner to Carlos.

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References

Robert Jackson, Full Faith and Credit: The Lawyer's Clause of the Constitution (1945). Originally 45 Colum. L. Rev. 1.

Shuki-Kunze, Jennie R. 1998. "The 'Defenseless' Marriage Act: The Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act as an Extension of Congressional Power Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause." Case Western Reserve Law Review 48 (winter).

Hamilton, Heather. 1998. "The Defense of Marriage Act: A Critical Analysis of Its Constitutionality Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause." DePaul Law Review 47 (summer).

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