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Borders and rights

Same-sex marriage hit a bump in the road this week. In the course of becoming the 37th state to permit such unions, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and two U.S. Supreme Court justices objected to Alabama being forced to allow them. The justices said it was trampling on a state’s right to define marriage. I am stunned, though, that no one seems to see the obvious compromise that might just give everyone enough to be content with the result.

When the Supreme Court definitively rules on the issue (probably on or near June 30), it can reaffirm the rights of all states to define marriage within their borders but, at the same time, affirm that is then the obligation of every state to recognize any marriage performed in any other state where such marriage is legal.

States keep the right to define marriage and same-sex couples can easily marry and obtain the legal protections of a valid union in another state, which then is automatically valid in their home state.

Lew Baker

Salt Lake City