You may have heard that ten state attorneys general have asked the California supreme court to stay its ruling in Marriage cases for fear that same-sex marriages in the Golden State will wreak havoc in their own polities. Although one of the petitioners (New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte) has since withdrawn, the remaining nine are telling California's high court that “prudential considerations” suggest that implementation of its decision should occur “in a deliberate fashion and without undue haste”—if at all. While claiming that they do not take a stand either for or against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages that will appear on the November general election ballot, the attorneys general palpably hope to be spared the ordeal of doing their jobs.
By an odd coincidence (what are the chances?) all signatories to the petition are Republicans. The lead author of the letter to the California court is Mark Shurtleff, attorney general of the state of Utah. Speaking for the group, he declares
[I]t is not surprising that news media in each of our States report on not a few resident same-sex couples who intend to go or are seriously contemplating going to California to marry, if and when the remedy in this case becomes effective, and then returning home. We reasonably believe an inevitable result of such “marriage tourism” will be a steep increase in litigation of the recognition issue in our courts.That's right: These Republican attorneys general are worried that their workload will increase. They're not ready to deal with these completely unanticipated questions. I mean, who could have ever imagined that it would be necessary for the top lawyer in each state to prepare for possible litigation on same-sex marriages? After all, civil unions in Vermont have existed only since 2000 and gay marriages have been occurring in Massachusetts since 2004. No wonder that the California decision came as a completely unexpected bolt out of the blue.
The attorneys general have an excuse ready to go. You see, Vermont has only civil unions (not marriage) and Massachusetts had Mitt Romney (poor Massachusetts), who insisted that his state's implementation of same-sex marriage under court mandate explicitly restrict it to citizens of Massachusetts. The specter of “marriage tourism” was thus banished, never to appear again! That is, until a few years later. Quelle surprise.
Who are these myopic visionaries and why do they want to be attorney general if they are reluctant to do the job? Let's keep an eye on these people. Expect them to bail out and run for other offices soon. No doubt they'll make strong candidates for governor and U.S. senator based on their heroic service as job-duckers in their current positions.
- Talis Colberg, Alaska
- John Suthers, Colorado
- Bill McCollum, Florida
- Lawrence Wasden, Idaho
- Mike Cox, Michigan
- Jon Bruning, Nebraska
- Henry McMaster, South Carolina
- Larry Long, South Dakota
- Mark Shurtleff, Utah