Barry Goldwater (yes, that Barry Goldwater) once warned that the frontal assault on the independence of the Federal courts is a dangerous blow to the foundations of a free society. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives wasn't listening: The House approved a bill yesterday to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over same-sex marriage cases, despite warnings by opponents that the measure is unconstitutional and would open the floodgates for efforts to prevent judges from ruling on other issues, from gun control to abortion. With strong backing from the Bush administration, the Marriage Protection Act was adopted 233 to 194. However, the bill is likely to face strong opposition in the Senate, where some Republicans joined with Democrats last week to block a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. As Congressman Jerrold Nadler observed yesterday: Are state courts and adequate forum to protect federal constitutional rights? The majority does not think so when it’s the rights of big corporation, but when it comes to the rights of families and their children, that’s a different story.


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