February 13, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
Cruz introduces bill to limit fed’l recognition of marriage
government, Ted Cruz, Texas, Republican Party, United States Senate, Values Voters Summit, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced the State Marriage Defense Act. (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced legislation on Thursday in the U.S. Senate to prohibit the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states without marriage equality.

The Texas Republican said he introduced the bill, called the State Defense Marriage Act, in response to the Obama administration’s recognition of same-sex marriage in federal programs — even for gay couples living in non-marriage equality states — following the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I support traditional marriage,” Cruz said in a statement. “Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states.”

Known for his filibuster of health care reform legislation, Cruz is a freshman senator and hasn’t been in the Senate long enough to establish an anti-LGBT record while in Congress. However, he voted last year against an LGBT-inclusive version of the a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Among the co-sponsors of the legislation is Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), another Tea Party favorite known for his opposition to same-sex marriage. Cruz and Lee are currently the only sponsors of the bill.

Lee is also chief sponsor of the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against organizations that exercise “religious conscience” against same-sex marriage.

Cruz introduced the legislation on the heels of complaints from conservatives over U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Justice Department would recognize same-sex marriages in courtrooms and federal programs — even in jurisdictions without marriage equality.

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, praised Cruz for introducing the legislation in the wake of policy developments along the lines of Holder’s announcement.

“The Department of Justice (DOJ) is the latest agency to announce a policy of recognizing same sex couples as ‘married’ – even if they live in a state that does not,” Perkins said. “These announcements not only contradict other agency guidance, but also undermine state laws on marriage, a result directly condemned by the Windsor Court’s ruling.”

Companion legislation already exists in the House, where a bill was introduced Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Texas). Counting Forbes, the legislation has 58 sponsors.

Ian Thompson, legislative representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the legislation an effort “to reincarnate DOMA under a new name.”

“The bill would force the federal government to disrespect the legal marriages of same-sex couples in (currently) more than half the country,” Thompson said. “Rather than wasting time trying to, once again, enshrine anti-gay discrimination in federal law, Congress should pass the Respect for Marriage Act to provide married same-sex couples with certainty that the federal government will recognize their marriages regardless of where in the country they live in or move to.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

6 Comments
  • Hmm. I thought there was a devastating super storm that wiped out the entire Tea Party Repuglicans…oh that hasn't happened yet. Can't wait.

  • Hahaha, keep wasting tax dollars on worthless bigoted homophobia and start trying to make America a better country. Teabaggers are so worthless.

  • Why can't we find a Democrat who will support the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, who will secure the border, who will deport the illegals? Why is it so hard to find a Democrat that actually wants to do something besides piss money down a rat hole?

  • I guess your too stupid to realize Obama has deported more "illegals" from this country than any President before him, by a large margin. You live in a state that was taken, by force, from Mexico. Now you want them all to go home? I think they want the same from you.

  • I guess your too stupid to realize Obama has deported more "illegals" from this country than any President before him, by a large margin. You live in a state that was taken, by force, from Mexico. Now you want them all to go home? I think they want the same from you.

  • Robert Hawn Obama theoretically deporting more illegals (there is no need for quotation marks, since they actually are illegals) really doesn't mean a great deal when you compare the number deported to the number remaining. "Bush did it." or "Ronnie did it too… " may play in the school yard but it fails miserably in a grown up discussion. I don't actually live in a state which was taken by force from Mexico, I live in a state which was taken by treaty from Spain. In any event, the Mexican (and Guatemalan, and El Salvadorian, and Colombian, and Indian, and Chinese, and Korean, and Serbian, and Turkish, and Paki, and Nigerian… ) illegals in the US were not present at the time the territories were won and purchased from Mexico. Try again.

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