Rep. Ernest Istook (R.-Okla.) is proposing a back-up plan to the Federal Marriage Amendment that was blocked last week in the Senate. He wants to pass a federal law, over-riding state laws, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The law itself would grant the U.S. Supreme Court original jurisdiction over any legal challenge against it, meaning any challenge would bypass all lower courts and go straight to the Supremes.
Such a law would need only a congressional majority and presidential signature to be enacted. It would also eliminate the disingenuous defense John Kerry and other Democrats have made–that they oppose same-sex marriage but don’t support changing the Constitution. And it would expedite a ruling on gay marriage by the Supreme Court. If the high court were to rule in favor of same-sex marriage that would greatly strengthen the case for a constitutional amendment. Istook’s proposal, however, will likely spark federalist objections.