Ted Cruz’ Strange Anti-Marriage Equality Bill

Ted Cruz’ Strange Anti-Marriage Equality Bill February 13, 2015

Ted Cruz has submitted a bill called the State Marriage Defense Act that is really quite odd. Looking at the actual text of the bill, it’s not at all clear what it actually does. Here’s the only text in the bill that seems to take any action at all (the rest is just a set of findings):

‘‘For purposes of determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, as applied with respect to individuals domiciled in a State or in any other territory or possession of the United States, the term ‘marriage’ shall not include any relationship which that State, territory, or possession does not recognize as a marriage, and the term ‘spouse’ shall not include an individual who is a party to a relationship that is not recognized as a marriage by that State, 18 territory, or possession.’’

*scratches head* I had to look at the press release that Cruz put out about the bill to find out what he’s actually trying to do:

In Windsor, the Supreme Court improperly struck down a federal statute, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of one man and one woman. At the same time, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the states’ longstanding authority to define marriage.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has overruled that state authority, as various federal agencies are recognizing same-sex marriages in states that only recognize traditional marriage, creating what the Windsor decision condemned: “two contradictory marriage regimes in the same state.”

The State Marriage Defense Act remedies this problem by requiring that the federal government defer to the law of the state where a couple resides to determine whether the couple is married for purposes of federal law.

Okay, so here’s what is going on. The Windsor ruling requires the federal government to give full recognition for the purposes of any federal law to marriages that were performed in states where same-sex marriage was legal. Due to that, the Obama administration announced that it would do so and that it would not retract those benefits and recognition if the couple moves to another state where same-sex marriage is not legal. Cruz’ bill would make the federal government withdraw all of the protections and benefits that it previously granted to a gay couple that was legally married if that couple moves to a state that does not recognize the validity of that marriage.

This law won’t pass and would be vetoed immediately if it did, but even if it became law Cruz couldn’t possibly believe that it wouldn’t be struck down by the courts on the basis of Windsor. Which means all he’s doing is pandering to bigots by trying to pass a bill that makes the lives of gay people more difficult. So he’s just being a bigoted douchebag. Anyone surprised?

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