January 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Ted Cruz: Courts shouldn’t overturn gay marriage bans
Ted Cruz, Texas, Republican Party, United States Senate, Values Voters Summit, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Ted Cruz said judges shouldn’t overturn bans on same-sex marriage. (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman).

President Obama gave a strong indication during the State of the Union address on Tuesday he believes the U.S. Constitution guarantees marriage rights for same-sex couples, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) doesn’t share that view.

Immediately following the president’s speech, the likely 2016 Republican presidential contender said in the U.S. Capitol that courts shouldn’t be able to strike down bans on same-sex marriage when asked by the Washington Blade if he agrees with Obama’s view that marriage equality is a “story of freedom” and “a civil right.”

“Well, he is certainly entitled to his views, and I think the proper place to debate those issues is in the legislative chambers,” Cruz replied. “I’m a constitutionalist. From the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question of the states, and we should not have the federal government, or unelected judges, setting aside the policy judgment of the elected legislatures and imposing their own instead.”

As he announced in October, Cruz told the Blade he still intends to introduce a constitutional amendment that would prohibit judges from overturning state laws on marriage, but suggested courts already lack the authority to rule in favor of marriage equality.

“Because, as I said, I’m a constitutionalist,” Cruz said. “If a state chooses to adopt gay marriage, that’s within its constitutional authority to do so, but if it chooses not to, if it chooses traditional marriage, that is also within its constitutional purview. Part of the genius of the framers of our Constitution was allowing for the now 50 states to be laboratories of democracy, to adopt and reflect different policy choices state by state.”

Cruz made the remarks in the context of the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear cases seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples filed in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee in what is widely anticipated as the first step in delivering a nationwide ruling on the issue. Additionally, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seemed poised to strike down the ban on same-sex marriage in the Republican senator’s own state of Texas.

Evan Wolfson, president of the LGBT group Freedom to Marry, said the Constitution is in place to protect the rights of Americans that public officials like Cruz would attempt to strip away.

“The states are ‘laboratories’ of democracy, but they operate within the ‘protocol’ of the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom to marry and equal protection of the laws — a floor beneath which the states may not sink,” Wolfson said. “Sen. Cruz seems to forget that the Constitution he claims to revere rests on the bedrock American principle that not everything is put up to a vote, and that judges, elected or otherwise, are there as a central part of the checks and balances that make sure our rights as Americans are not vulnerable to the agendas and ambitions of elected politicians like Ted Cruz.”

Stephen Peters, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, also criticized Cruz for suggesting the Constitution doesn’t protect all Americans.

“While Sen. Cruz claims to be a “constitutionalist,” he conveniently ignores the fundamental element of the Constitution that guarantees equal protection of the law for all Americans, including LGBT people,” Peters said. “Loving and committed same-sex couples deserve the same rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with marriage, and the Supreme Court will hopefully soon affirm this. Sen. Cruz’s defiant efforts to try to stop marriage equality place him not only on the wrong side of history, but in a shameful group of people who deplorably use their influence to repress minorities.”

By maintaining that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow courts to rule against bans on same-sex marriage, Cruz is placing himself in the the same company as another presidential hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who was recently critical of a court decision that led to marriage equality in Florida. But they stand in contrast to comments from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who said despite disagreements “we have to respect the rule of law.”

Ian Sams, spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said Cruz was presenting tired, anti-gay rhetoric.

“Ted Cruz follows in a long line of crusaders who couch their anti-equality agenda in the language of process,” Sams said. “LGBT Americans deserve equal treatment under the law and access to the same rights as straight Americans – from protection against discrimination to marrying the person they love. While Cruz lives in the past and introduces anti-marriage equality legislation in Congress, progress for marriage equality is being made across the country and in the courts. And that’s a good thing.”

Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Cruz’s views are the same as Hillary Clinton’s.

“What I find most interesting about Sen. Cruz’s remarks is the sensitivity with which he is now couching the issue,” Angelo said. “Far from a firebrand preaching that marriage equality will lead to the collapse of society, he is now adopting a stance that marriage should be left to the states to decide — the same opinion that Hillary Clinton has. That said, you can’t champion states’ rights and a federal marriage amendment at the same time; they don’t mesh.”

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

29 Comments
  • “I’m a constitutionalist. From the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question of the states, and we should not have the federal government, or unelected judges, setting aside the policy judgment of the elected legislatures and imposing their own instead.” That makes him not a constitutionalist.

  • Well, for those who remain with the original constitution Bob, 'blacks' are not full human beings, women are not included and no where does it mention gays. The constitution is a living document that needs to change with the times. In the Loving decision, with 35 states allowing interracial marriage, the Courts extended it to the entire country. (1964). It wasn't until 1991 that the majority of US Americans believed in Inter-racial marriage. Had the court 'left it up to the States', Obama's parents would have not been able to legally marry. Get over it.

  • The tenth amendment says that powers not explicitly given to the federal government go to the states or the people. The one-sentence tenth amendment doesn't stop there. It also says that the states do not have powers that the constitution prohibits them from having. Thus states do indeed regulate marriage in terms of the qualifications of the officiant, the age and consanguinity of the people getting married, the state agency that designs, uses, and files the forms, and so forth. But the states do not have constitutionally prohibited powers (without that provision, the entire constitution would be negated), The fourteenth amendment contains a prohibition. The states cannot define a class of individuals and deny them rights.

    There is no exception. There are no secondary citizens or special cases. You might think that gay marriage is icky, or you might not approve of it (if you are the Universal Approval Authority), but If you really were a constitutionalist, and not just an opportunist, you would not be able to oppose gay marriage on constitutional grounds.

  • Ted Cruz, please sir, at your earliest opportunity…. Please, FO and D and please, take Sara Palin with you

  • It doesn't mention it sweetheart because Gay isn't a race correct? You're white and covered LOL. But there is a difference between a lifestyle and race LOL!

  • First of all Gregory T Angelo of the Log Cabin Republicans is the most idiotic person around. Miss Angelo where have you been? Hillary has gotten on board with Marriage equality she was late to the party but she has arrived. Have several seats _/ _/ _/ !

  • Christopher Capers – "Lifestyle" isn't in the issue at all. Sexual orientation is not a "lifestyle" OR a choice OR a "behavior" (another term of ignorance thrown around far too often).

  • Christopher Capers , sexual orientation is no more a choice or changeable as your skin color. I am gay, and would be gay if I had died a virgin.

  • Christopher, lifestyle is what you wear or disco dancing. This is not our lifestyle. This is our lives. And we are, as Pres. Obama said in his State of the Union speech this week, is civil rights movement. (He referred to marriage equality for same-sex couples as a civil right. Therefore, we are a civil rights movement.) you should be able to relate to that.

  • Dumbo fails to get it. The constitution is a laboratory for democracy but never for discrimination by even a single state! Or maybe Texas could pass a law forbidding anyone whose last name is Cruz from running for public office. We could call Texas a "constitutional laboratory"!!!!!

  • Ted Cruz, like his bigoted evangelical father, is an idiot. If states were allowed to do whatever they wished the South would still have slavery. The states cannot dictate or control essential human rights just to please the religious bigots in the USA. Cruz and other demented Republican politicians and power-seeking religious leaders would establish a theocracy in the USA. These ploys must be stopped at every turn and exposed for what they really are: totalitarianism posing as patriotism.

  • I'm honestly so sick of seeing his face. He looks like a whiny, spoiled brat who just get told no by daddy every single fucking time I see his face.

  • Apparently, Cruz still lives in the past as the HRC spokesman said. He's a disgrace to this country, let alone my home state.

  • Believe me, so am I. He's a disgrace to the country, as well as my home state.

  • So by Cruz logic, cops can issue traffic tickets to only white folks and there is nothing federal courts can do about it because traffic tickets are not a federal responsibility? Um, yeah – that'll happen…

  • Gay may not be a race as such. But, being gay is an intrinsic birth characteristic of well over nine million Americans. Just because some dusty old book says Levitical priests couldn't participate in local same sex orgies of the day doesn't even come close to excusing attempts to make being gay illegal, or banning marriage.

  • John Lee Of course Cruz lives in the past, he's from Texas.

  • He almost makes me ashamed to be from Texas. But then again, so does Gregg Abbott and the rest of the @$$hats in Austin.

  • Leslie Gray I'd love to do the commonplace thing where I laugh at the southerners stuck with their horribly conservative government, but then I'd be blatantly ignoring the fact that the state of Michigan I reside in is also controlled by similar conservatives. At least we don't have Ted Cruz, or Abbott. Both of you also sound fairly progressive based upon the denouncement of these two and thus I wish you both the best of luck dealing with the both of them trying their best to drive Texas further into the ground.

  • Christopher, please tell me when you chose to be straight. Did you have physical attraction to men, but chose to ignore it? Does it still plague you, but you continue to choose women as attractive? I ask because I have never been able to force myself to find men attractive, and God knows I tried.

  • Speaking from a state which banned mixed race marriages, enslaved Blacks, instituted segregation in school, Cruz and Texas are the antithesis of the US Constitution!

  • Leslie Gray
    Well, Texas' gay marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional this month last year…and the arguments have come and gone (they were a couple weeks ago), so now the waiting games begin.

  • Leslie Gray
    Well, Texas' gay marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional this month last year…and the arguments have come and gone (they were a couple weeks ago), so now the waiting games begin.

  • Leslie Gray
    Don't like Cruz, or Abbott, or Cornyn, or Perry, or Dubya (yes, I count him, as he was TX Governor 2 decades ago, and showed his support for the FMA 1 decade ago as our horrible US President)

  • Leslie Gray
    Don't like Cruz, or Abbott, or Cornyn, or Perry, or Dubya (yes, I count him, as he was TX Governor 2 decades ago, and showed his support for the FMA 1 decade ago as our horrible US President)

  • Polygamy…..The Bible does not focus on one man and one wife.
    Here are examples

    Genesis 4:19
    And Lamech took unto him two wives.

    Genesis 16:1-4
    Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai … gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived.

    Genesis 25:6
    But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had….

    Genesis 26:34
    Esau … took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.

    Genesis 31:17
    Then Jacob rose up, and set … his wives upon camels.

    Exodus 21:10
    If he take him another wife….

    Deuteronomy 21:15
    If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated….

    Judges 8:30
    And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.

    1 Samuel 1:1-2
    Elkanah … had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah.

    2 Samuel 12:7-8
    Thus saith the LORD God of Israel … I gave thee … thy master's wives….

    1 Kings 11:2-3
    Solomon … had seven hundred wives … and three hundred concubines.

    1 Chronicles 4:5
    And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.

    2 Chronicles 11:21
    Rehoboam … took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines.

    2 Chronicles 13:21
    But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives….

    2 Chronicles 24:3
    Jehoiada took for him two wives….

    Mt.25:1
    Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

  • 3) Hating Ugly People
    The Republican Party needs to weed out it's "UGLY" people – both in physical appearance and in the way they speak and act. This would be in accordance with God of the O.T's will.

    In what should be good news for intolerant religious conservatives, God really does hate people who are different from the norm. Of course, God isn't as worried about skin color or sexual orientation as he is about whether you're ugly or not. Because if you're ugly, you can just go worship some other god, okay? (Even though God will punish you if you do and also they don't exist.) Here's the people God does not want coming into his churches: People with blemishes, blind people, the lame, those with flat noses, dwarves, people with scurvy, people with bad eyes, people with bad skin, and those that "hath their stones broken." Given that God is technically responsible for giving people all of these afflictions in the first place
    (Leviticus 21:17-24)

  • This is to help homophobic bakeries and other institutions extend their hatred FURTHER using the Bible: I mean to say, why stop at the LGBTI community?

    1. DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIMS

    Use Genesis where Abraham's wife Sara(h) cannot conceive so she gives her servant Hagar for Abraham to father a child.
    A son, Ishmael is born. Then, Sara(h) conceives and gives birth to Isaac. "Husband throw both Hagar and Ishamel OUT!" Abraham does. Ishmael is father of Islam (but Muhammad is greatest prophet).

    2. DISCRIMINATE AGAINST AFRO-AMERICANS
    Use Genesis again. This time go to the story of Noah. Somehow, Noah is naked and drunk. Ham, his son covers him. Noah is outraged and curses Ham. Many theologians think the meaning of Ham is black.

    3. DISCRIMINATE against WOMEN

    EPHESIANS
    5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.
    Business owners must ask the woman shopper if she has her husband’s permission to buy the goods.

    4.DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WOUNDED MEN (soldiers/wheelchair bound)

    Politely ask if the man who looks injured has his testicles intact (called stones) and has not injured his penis.

    "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord."(Deuteronomy 23:1)

    http://stories4hotbloodedlesbians.com

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