U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation to Protect Right of States to Preserve Definition of Marriage

Ted Cruz + Mike LeeWASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation last week which would give states the freedom to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

In a Thursday press release, Senators Cruz and Lee introduced the “State Marriage Defense Act” (S. 2024), which would preserve states’ ability to define marriage in a manner consistent with the values of their citizens. The act would also “protect states from an out of control administration that is seeking to force same sex marriage upon states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

“I support traditional marriage,” Cruz said in the statement. “The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.”

As previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last summer, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Cruz and Lee say the State Marriage Defense Act is largely a response to the Obama Administration’s “inconsistency” since the DOMA Supreme Court decision.

Last month, U.S. Representative Randy Weber (R-Texas) introduced the “State Marriage Defense Act of 2014,” which is the House of Representatives version of the legislation supported by Cruz and Lee. The bill currently has nearly 30 sponsors in the House.

“The 10th Amendment was established to protect state sovereignty and individual rights from being seized by the federal government,” Weber explained. “For too long, however, the federal government has slowly been eroding state’s rights by promulgating rules and regulations through federal agencies.”

“I drafted the ‘State Marriage Defense Act of 2014’ to help restore the 10th Amendment, affirm the authority of states to define and regulate marriage, as well as, provide clarity to federal agencies seeking to determine who qualifies as a spouse for the purpose of federal law,” Weber added. “By requiring that the Federal Government defer to the laws of a person’s state of legal residence in determining marital status, we can protect states’ constitutionally established powers from the arbitrary overreach of unelected bureaucrats.”

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Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised the State Marriage Defense Act, noting that marriage redefinition leads to unfortunate consequences.

“In recent months, we have witnessed the growing serious consequences of redefining marriage,” Perkins wrote in a statement. “We’ve seen wedding florists, bakers, photographers who have been hauled into court, fined and even ordered to violate their religious beliefs by participating in same-sex weddings.”

Senator Lee says the State Marriage Defense Act would protect states which support traditional marriage.

“How a state should define marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state,” Lee stated in a release. “It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage. The State Marriage Defense Act provides an important protection for states, respecting the right to choose for themselves how each will treat the institution of marriage under the law.”

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