Aug 082013

On Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed attorney Tom Varik about “Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Podcast: 7 August 2013

As the cause of gay marriage gains ever-more traction, many have wondered whether marriage really matters. Attorney Tom Varik argues that it does. In this interview, he discussed the legal status and importance of gay marriage, including the recent Supreme Court cases, as well as the history and limits of spousal privilege.

Tom G. Varik is an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he currently works for the Social Security Administration. He attended the University of Akron School of Law, earning a JD in 2009. Before that, he studied motion picture production at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he produced several short films featured in various international underground film festivals, and earned a BFA in 2006.

Listen or Download:


  • The nature of spousal privilege
  • Testimonial privilege
  • Communication privilege
  • A few examples
  • The history of spousal privilege: Funk v. US (290 U.S. 371) (1933), Hawkins v. US (358 U.S. 74) (1958), Wyatt v. US (362 U.S. 525) (1960), Wolfe v. US (291 U.S. 7) (1934), and Trammel v. US (445 U.S. 40) (1980)
  • The proper rule and proper justification for spousal privilege
  • A parent-child privilege?
  • The relevance of spousal privilege to gay marriage
  • Elements of marriage for which people cannot contract
  • The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • The recent Supreme Court Case: Windsor
  • The effects of the patchwork of state laws on gay marriage
  • The Full Faith and Credit Clause
  • The Proposition 8 Supreme Court Case
  • The cultural acceptance of gays


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