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Sens. Cruz and Lee Introduce State Marriage Defense Act

S. 2024 preserves ability of states to define marriage consistent with values of their citizens

February 13, 2014

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(202) 228-7561

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, today introduced S. 2024, the State Marriage Defense Act, which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government’s efforts to force any other definition upon them. The bill will ensure the federal government gives the same deference to the 33 states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman as it does to the 17 states that have chosen to recognize same-sex unions. 

“I support traditional marriage. 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,” said Sen. Cruz. “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.”

“How a state should define marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state,” said Sen. Lee. “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.”

In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court improperly held Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court's reasoning requires the federal government to respect the primacy of the states in defining marriage.

Unfortunately, since the Windsor decision, the Obama Administration’s agenda to force same-sex marriage has led both to the violation of these principles and to the rise of inconsistencies among several federal agencies that either look to the law of the state where an individual lives to determine eligibility for marital benefits or recognize marriages based solely on the law of the state where a marriage ceremony was held.

The State Marriage Defense Act will correct this inconsistency and 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.

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