TNR has always tried to be ahead of the curve. In 2000, when Vermont legalized civil unions for same-sex couples, former TNR editor Andrew Sullivan wrote a persuasive, prescient article arguing instead for full marriage equality. Addressing his essay to sympathetic liberals who generally supported gay rights but were wary of marriage quality, Sullivan wrote, “[S]upporting civil union while opposing marriage is an incoherent position--based more on sentiment than on reason, more on prejudice than principle.
On most days, the lobby of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Washington, D.C., headquarters has a certain rarefied air. But on this Tuesday morning it is thick with the smell of greasy, grilled bacon. The aroma is appropriate, since the breakfast speaker is Republican Representative Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Transportation Committee and, his critics say, one of the most shameless promulgators of pork-barrel spending in all of Congress.
The full faith and credit clause is about to become the Constitution's hottest provision. Found in Article IV of the original Constitution of 1789, its first sentence provides that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” This guarantee makes our lives in a mobile polity easier, assuring that local driver's licenses, birth certificates, marriages and divorces are recognized all around the country. But the provision is about to be put to a historic test.
Courtroom Three, on the second floor of the Denver City and County Building, is a neoclassical jewel, with its mustard walls and gray Vermont marble and polished oak backboard. It is a platonic ideal of a courtroom, which is perhaps why Viacom commandeered it in the mid-1980s to film several episodes of the new "Perry Mason." At the producers' behest, local architects installed a pair of ornate, but scarcely functional, beaux arts chandeliers; and their dim orange glow makes it hard for the judge to see the witnesses without squinting.