Two Texas Republicans reintroduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states that ban them.
Sen. Ted Cruz (above), who introduced the State Marriage Defense Act along with Rep. Randy Weber (right), said in a press release:
“Even though the Supreme Court made clear in United States v. Windsor that the federal government should defer to state ‘choices about who may be married,’ the Obama Administration has disregarded state marriage laws enacted by democratically-elected legislatures to uphold traditional marriage. I support traditional marriage and we should reject attempts by the Obama Administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states. The State Marriage Defense Act helps safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for their citizens.”
“The 10th Amendment was established to protect state sovereignty and individual rights from being seized by the Federal Government. States are currently struggling against activist court judges overstepping their constitutional authority by legislating from the bench, and an Obama Administration attempting to counter marriage laws voted on by the American people.”
“Multiple court cases defending state marriage laws are still awaiting Supreme Court review. While my hope is that the Supreme Court will uphold the right of voters to affirm the truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, it is imperative that Congress prevent federal agencies from undermining intact marriage laws in states like Texas.”
The Human Rights Campaign called the bill "shameful":
"Ted Cruz and Randy Weber are proposing legislation that would do real harm to legally married same-sex couples in states across this country," said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. "But what really stands out is the fact that they would use this reckless and irresponsible legislation to take important federal benefits away from their own Texas constituents. This just solidified their standing as two of the most extreme opponents of equality in America."
This legislation would roll back the federal government’s robust implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and extended recognition to the lawful marriages of same-sex couples for most federal spousal benefits. Agencies across the federal government have taken the fairest and most practicable approach by recognizing those couples for most federal purposes, even if they currently live in a state that does not itself respect their marriages.
The bill would callously strip federal rights and benefits from married same-sex couples – like federal employee health benefits, military spouse benefits, immigration rights, and many others – simply because of the state in which they currently live. In the name of protecting “states’ rights,” the bill would take spousal benefits away from the wife of a soldier serving in Afghanistan if she and their children were stationed in a state without marriage equality. In order to “defend marriage,” his legislation would force a grieving widower to pay an unfair tax on his husband’s estate, simply because the couple had retired nearer to grandchildren in their golden years. This legislation would make our nation’s already-unfair patchwork of laws even more burdensome for same-sex couples, and undermine the promise of equal treatment embodied in the historic Windsor decision.
Cruz's press release notes that he also plans to introduce a federal marriage amendment later this year.