December 9, 2015 at 2:54 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Cruz endorsed by National Organization for Marriage
Ted Cruz, United States Senate, Republican Party, Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Ted Cruz received an endorsement on Wednesday from a leading organization against marriage rights for gay couples, which upon announcing its support called him “a proven champion for marriage and religious freedom.”

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement his group is backing the candidate based on his commitments and actions on the campaign trail.

“Sen. Ted Cruz is a proven champion for marriage and religious freedom and someone we can absolutely count on to fight to restore marriage to our nation’s laws and defend the religious liberty of the tens of millions of Americans who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Brown said.

Brown cited Cruz’s introduction in the U.S. Senate of a constitutional amendment that would undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage and return the issue to the states in addition to his support for the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal religious freedom bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. Cruz recently pledged to make passage of the legislation a priority during his first 100 days in office if elected president.

But that commitment was just the latest in a series of anti-LGBT pledges and comments Cruz had made over the course of his campaign and before he began his White House bid.

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Cruz called such a ruling “mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states” as well as “naked and lawless judicial activism tearing down marriage laws adopted pursuant to the Constitution.”

The candidate appeared onstage in Iowa with Kevin Swanson, an anti-gay pastor who called for the death penalty for gay people (although not right now so they have a chance to repent). After a shooter killed three people at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, Cruz raised a dubious report in right-wing the suspect was a “transgendered leftist activist.” He also blasted efforts to lift the military’s ban on transgender service and said “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal has harmed military morale.

In August, lesbian actress Ellen Page confronted Cruz in Iowa on whether he backed legislation to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination, Cruz refused to say. Instead, the candidate said the real problem is individuals facing penalties under civil rights laws after they engaged in anti-LGBT discrimination out of religious convictions.

Along with Bobby Jindal (who’s now dropped out the race), Ben Carson and Rick Santorum, Cruz was among four Republican presidential candidates who signed a pledge with the National Organization for Marriage to oppose same-sex marriage.

Signers committed themselves to support amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman and “conduct a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Brown said his organization would support other signers — as well as Marco Rubio — should any of those candidates become the Republican presidential nominee instead of Cruz.

“The decision to endorse in the Republican primary race was a very difficult one,” Brown said. “There are many tremendous candidates remaining who have made support for marriage a pillar of their careers in public service, including Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio. We realize that our endorsement of Sen. Cruz will be very disappointing to them. Should any of these candidates emerge as the Republican nominee we would enthusiastically support them.”

But Brown had stern words for real estate mogul Donald Trump, who, despite his comments against Mexicans, Muslims and other groups, hasn’t made anti-LGBT positions a major component of his campaign.

“There is a real danger that conservatives will split the vote allowing someone like Donald Trump to emerge from the crowded field, which would be disastrous,” Brown said.

Founded in 2007 to back the campaign seeking to pass California’s Proposition 8, the National Organization for Marriage has spearheaded efforts across to country to stop the legalization of same-sex marriage. But even before the Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage across the nation, the organization has fallen on hard times. The group closed out 2013 with an estimated $2.5 million in debt.

JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president for policy and political affairs, said Cruz and the National Organization for Marriage are “a match made in heaven.”

“Between NOM’s comparison of marriage equality to slavery, and Ted Cruz’s recent decision to speak at the ‘death to gays’ conference, there’s no limit to what they will do to deny LGBT people their constitutional right to get married just like everyone else,” Winterhof said. “Today’s endorsement should be a reminder to pro-equality voters everywhere just how much is at stake in 2016.”

The endorsement shouldn’t be a surprise for another reason: One of the National Organization for Marriage’s co-founders, Princeton law professor Robert George, was one of his teachers at Princeton University.

TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said upon news the National Organization for Marriage endorsed Cruz, “I didn’t know that organization still existed.”

“But I’m not surprised that this crowd of anti-LGBT Republicans would seek the endorsement of a group that has worked so hard to deny LGBT people their dignity and equality,” Helmstetter added. “The NOM endorsement could have been a toss-up between Rubio, Carson, Cruz or the rest of the Republican field – all of whom would stop equality for LGBT Americans in its tracks. LGBT Americans are winning the fight for full equality, but groups like NOM and candidates like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are still stuck in the past and will stop at nothing to reverse course for LGBT Americans.”

With the Iowa caucus just a couple months away, Brown said “it is imperative that a proven marriage champion emerge from Iowa and go on to capture the Republican nomination.”

“Too much is on the line for supporters of marriage to sit on the sidelines and take the risk that the Republican nominee is someone who will not fight to restore marriage to the law in our nation,” Brown said. “We are at a historic moment, and we urge all conservatives to unite behind Sen. Ted Cruz, a man of principle we can all count on to give his all to the cause of marriage and religious freedom.”

The Cruz campaign didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the endorsement. The candidate made no statement about it on his presidential Twitter account as of Wednesday afternoon.

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

  • overandone

    I can’t say that’s it’s true and won’t say that its not, is there any truth to the Rumor that Cruz was once a Man.

    • Steve Karper

      No his father waS an evangelical preacher in canada – evangelical- the new name of the southern baptists of slavery and segregation, and a spin off of the old dutch church of apartheid in south africa

      the rotten apple didnt fall far from the rotten tree

      (note the evangelical lutherans are very sspportive of marriage and many of their churches will do religious and civil marriages for gay couples

      I’v met a few core lutherans and while they dont support = maarriage they are great people, no hate, nno discrimination etc

  • lnm3921

    See, despite the marriage equality ruling by the SCOTUS, the NOM has not given up or disbanded and social conservatives like Cruz still press for a Constitutional Amendment to undue the ruling.

    This tells you to stop taking your rights for granted and that like abortion, religious conservatives won’t give up on the issue.

    And please don’t tell me that marriage equality is a done deal and can NEVER be undone. SCOTUS rulings have been reversed in the past given a different composition of the court. Case in point would be the sodomy ruling. Originally the court ruled against us then reversed itself. That’s why who is elected President and thus can nominate judges for court vacancies will always be important. Most of all our legal gains and advances have been through the courts.

    They haven’t given up on undoing the right to choose an abortion since Roe V. Wade back in 1973. It’s naïve to think they will give up on undoing marriage equality. And the fact that that would be unfair doesn’t matter to them.

  • Steve Karper

    Maggie gallagher got sidelined when she was discovered to have not 1 but 2 illiegitmate kids

    Brian brown is a quaker who became catholic, Quakers are the last to discriminate against anyone

    Brown obviously went thru the churches fix hte gays program, where with shame and threats of hell fire they fill these peoplw with self hatred.

    to redirect the self hatred they pile it on someone who cant defend themselve any more eg “matthew shepards family should have fixed him”

    the queer brown needs to be xposed also if you can mentally get rid of the fat on his facce (as he hopefu lly eats himself t a fatal heartt attatck, y ou will see a hint of femininty there – indicating he is most likely a bottom boy

    someone pls cum out and admit his but was a lot of tun.

  • Culture Club Warrior

    NOM is still a thing?

  • Steve Karper

    1. CRuz father is an evangelical (southern baptist minister in saschatuan canada, A friend of mine knows the father and called him the second coming of atila the hun

    Cruz latest rant included saying he would bomb the desert where isis is until it glowed

    What this piece of horse dropping wants is to see another major terrorist attack while our first black president is still in office He’s evedn nuttier then carson who said the jews couldl have fought off the holocaust with guns

    yeh sure – an untrained army ruthlessly disciplined example We executed one man for actually desertion,, pvt kovacs, in WWII the nazi hung about 10,000 soliders for desertion or cowardice, the bodies left to rot along the road

    the essene of an army is training and each knowing that their lives and comrades liives depend on each other

    To show how KKKrazy faux news is they said that George Soros helped the nazis in the death campp

    Soros was a hungarian jew hidden by a good xtian family until the war was ended Roger ailes is btw a racist who Nixon, far right wing, got to convert the south from the dixiecrats to the repubs in the ealy 70s – the south was livid over the civil rights and voting rights pushed in by Pr. Johnson

    Also note the blonds in faux news – a sumbliminal message to the reported avg age 65 listener of faux

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