Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), in a craven attempt to burnish his ultra-conservative credentials (probably for the upcoming Republican presidential primary), has introduced a bill that would strip federal benefits from same-sex couples and leave it up to the states to restrict marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On his website, Cruz states:
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.
There are several ironies about this. First, of course, is that it has absolutely no chance of becoming law. A reasonable number of Republicans would vote against it, and even if Congress passed it, it would be vetoed by Obama.
Second, even if it became law, it would have no long-term effect. The courts have been overturning laws discriminating against same-sex couples in state after state (37 now, last week including Alabama of all places!). Once a state allows gay marriage, the law would have no meaning there.
Third, Cruz seems to be blaming Obama for destroying “traditional marriage” and attempting to “force” it on all 50 states. Other than refusing to enforce DOMA because it was unconstitutional (with the Supreme Court agreeing that it was unconstitutional soon after), Obama has done very little to champion gay marriage. Most legal scholars expect the Supreme Court to strike down laws against gay marriage in June.
Cruz claims that he will be “introducing a constitutional amendment to further protect marriage and to prevent judicial activism.” My guess is that is a promise he won’t keep. Republicans have been promising to do this for a long time. And Cruz is purposely vague about what this means, instead using terms like “judicial activism” to fire people up.
Indeed, once upon a time gay marriage was a red meat hot button topic for social conservatives, but even they seem to have given up on it. Nobody cares any more, which is how it should be. Gays are getting married and nothing bad happened. Despite dire predictions from religious conservatives, God hasn’t started smiting gays.
Cruz seems to be willing to say anything to get elected. But in this case I think he is just beating a dead horse.