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The Gay Marriage War

            In 1996, several gay couples from Hawaii sued for the legal right to marry, ushering in the beginning of a social and political battle between conservatives and liberals - or, those who oppose same-sex marriage and those who are willing to endorse it.
             Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia introduced the Defense of Marriage Act in May 1996. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-67 and the Senate by a vote of 85-14. President Clinton signed the bill on Sept. 21, 1996. The DOMA bill was accepted in response to the growing issue of gay marriage. There would be no federal recognition of gay marriage, and each state would have the right to refuse the union of gay and lesbian couples who have marriage licenses issued by another state. The act does not prohibit states from allowing gay marriage, nor does it obligate them to recognize it.
             According to Article IV Section I of the U.S. Constitution "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." Full Faith and Credit ensures that judicial decisions by the courts in one state are recognized and honored in every other state, too. The Full Faith and Credit Clause is invoked primarily to enforce judgments. When a valid judgment is rendered by a court that has jurisdiction over the parties, and the parties receive proper notice of the action and a reasonable opportunity to be heard, the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires that the judgment receive the same effect in other states as in the state where it is entered. A party who obtains a judgment in one state may petition the court in another state to enforce the judgment. When this is done, the parties do not relitigate the issues, and the court in the second state is obliged to fully recognize and honor the judgment of the first court in determining the enforceability of the judgment and the procedure for its execution.

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