CITES BY TOPIC:  marriage
Ex Parte Kinney, 14 Fed.Cas. page 602 (Case No. 7,825) (1879)Foreigners Against White Persons

"Marriage is a privilege belonging to persons as members of society, and as citizens of the states in which they reside, and may be abridged at the will of the states in which they reside.

Marriage, though a contract, is more than a civil contract, and is not affected by the clause of the 10th section of the 1st article of the constitution forbidding a state from passing any laws impairing the obligation of contracts.

The fifteenth amendment embodies the implication that a state may abridge any privileges of its citizens other than that of voting."  

[Ex Parte Kinney, 14 Fed.Cas. page 602 (Case No. 7,825) (1879)Foreigners Against White Persons]


Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978):

In my view, analysis must start from the recognition of domestic relations as "an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States." Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 404 (1975). The marriage relation traditionally has been subject to regulation, initially by the ecclesiastical authorities, and later by the secular state. As early as [434 U.S. 374, 399]   Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 734 -735 (1878), this Court noted that a State "has absolute right to prescribe the conditions upon which the marriage relation between its own citizens shall be created, and the causes for which it may be dissolved." The State, representing the collective expression of moral aspirations, has an undeniable interest in ensuring that its rules of domestic relations reflect the widely held values of its people.

"Marriage, as creating the most important relation in life, as having more to do with the morals and civilization of a people than any other institution, has always been subject to the control of the legislature. That body prescribes the age at which parties may contract to marry, the procedure or form essential to constitute marriage, the duties and obligations it creates, its effects upon the property rights of both, present and prospective, and the acts which may constitute grounds for its dissolution." Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 205 (1888).

State regulation has included bans on incest, bigamy, and homosexuality, as well as various preconditions to marriage, such as blood tests. Likewise, a showing of fault on the part of one of the partners traditionally has been a prerequisite to the dissolution of an unsuccessful union. A "compelling state purpose" inquiry would cast doubt on the network of restrictions that the States have fashioned to govern marriage and divorce.

[Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978)]


Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965):

I agree with MR. JUSTICE HARLAN's statement in his dissenting opinion in Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497, 551 -552: "Certainly the safeguarding of the home does not follow merely from the sanctity of property rights. The home derives its pre-eminence as the seat of family life. And the integrity of that life is something so fundamental that it has been found to draw to its protection the principles of more than one explicitly granted Constitutional right. . . . Of this whole `private realm of family life' it is difficult to imagine what is more private or more intimate than a husband and wife's marital relations."

The entire fabric of the Constitution and the purposes that clearly underlie its specific guarantees demonstrate that the rights to marital privacy and to marry and raise a family are of similar order and magnitude as the fundamental rights specifically protected.

Although the Constitution does not speak in so many words of the right of privacy in marriage, I cannot believe that it offers these fundamental rights no protection. The fact that no particular provision of the Constitution [381 U.S. 479, 496]   explicitly forbids the State from disrupting the traditional relation of the family - a relation as old and as fundamental as our entire civilization - surely does not show that the Government was meant to have the power to do so. Rather, as the Ninth Amendment expressly recognizes, there are fundamental personal rights such as this one, which are protected from abridgment by the Government though not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

[Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)]