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JLeslie's avatar

Will you help me with questions about the US Constitution and marriage laws?

Asked by JLeslie (61047points) July 7th, 2015 from iPhone

1. Where in the Constitution does it talk about marriage?

2. Did the federal government change any laws on the books preventing interracial marriages? Or, did the states come around themselves?

3. Name a few examples in history where the states couldn’t be trusted to vote for what was right regarding civil liberties. An obvious one is slavery and segregation laws. Are there others?

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7 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Marriage is not in the US Constitution. But to the extent that laws are on the books of States and on the Federal Books, the SCOTUS has jurisidiction on the Constitutionality of the application of those laws.

The Constitution does not mention drivers licenses. But if a State passed a law requiring you to be a white male to get a driver’s license, the SCOTUS could have a say in that.

The Federal Government Executive Branch and Legislative Branch did not change laws on miscegenation, the Supreme Court did.

The States have often abused their ability to write laws. Did you know that Oregon declared itself as “negro free” and prohibited blacks from living in the state until 1926? That until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many states had a test to pass before you could register to vote? That it was permissible in California to require Mexican farmhands to use a short handled hoe so that the farm boss could tell if someone was working or not?

Strauss's avatar

1. The word “marriage” does not appear in the US Constitution. Source: word search at this government archive

2. The laws against interracial marriage (miscegenation, or anti-miscegenation laws) were enacted by the various colonies, states or territories. All such laws were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the US in 1967 in Loving vs Virginia.

3 The federal laws that fall into this category that meet the OP’s criteria, i.e., other than “slavery and segregation laws” seem to all fall under labor relations. There is the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which guaranteed the right to collective bargaining and union representation; the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which outlined conditions under which child labor was appropriate; and more recently, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which guarantees equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is in the Declaration of Independence, though. That covers a lot of stuff.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I would highly recommend checking out this class on the Constitution, taught by Michael Badnarik.
He touches on a lot of things in the constitution and how the government uses contract law for more control and power.
It was very interesting and shows how we may have strayed from the intended purpose of the constitution.

Darth_Algar's avatar


The original writers of the Constitution were not so arrogant to believe that what worked for their generation would work for all generations into perpetuity. That’s why they worded much of the Constitution vaguely, so that each generation might interpret it according to their own ideas, understanding and circumstances, and also why they ensured that successive generations would be able to add to or take away from the Constitution.

Unbroken's avatar

@Darth_Algae yes but the intent of constitution as stated by the Declaration of Independence hasn’t changed. Or was not intended for change. Otherwise i ‘m sure our forefathers would not have slaved over it as much as they did.

Darth_Algar's avatar


The Founding Fathers weren’t a hivemind. They didn’t necessarily have some overarching collective intent. Their individual intents and ideas varied greatly. The Constitution is a set of grudging compromises rather than a great consensus.

That and everyone seems to have their own ideas about what the Founding Fathers’ intent actually was.

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