Glen Godwin: Rebellious bills

March 9, 2014 

Regarding the Feb. 27 news article “Arizona governor vetoes ‘religious freedom’ bill”: Hallelujah! Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona has vetoed the anti-gay bill and stopped the resurrection of Jim Crow laws.

Honestly, though, I cannot understand why state legislators bring up such measures for a vote. Article VI, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution establishes the supremacy of federal law. Any state law that contradicts federal law is void. The 14th Amendment establishes that, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Thus, state legislation against any group of people that conflicts with federal law is tantamount to rebellion.

Why didn’t Justice Anthony Kennedy state in last year’s U.S. v. Windsor opinion that gay civil rights are the law of the land and cannot be overridden by states? Did he feel such a ruling would be beyond the court’s reach, a throwback to the activism and “legislating from the bench”?

Glen Godwin


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