A pair of Republican senators is looking to prevent the federal government from imposing conflicting definitions of marriage on the states.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a bill Wednesday to ensure that the 33 states that adhere to the traditional definition of marriage receive the same level of regard as the 17 states that recognize same-sex marriage. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee has co-sponsored the legislation.
According to Cruz and Lee, the Obama administration has been attempting to redefine marriage at the federal level and undermining states’ rights to define marriage in accordance with the desires of their citizens.
“The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states,” Cruz said in a statement Thursday. “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.” (RELATED: Supreme Court puts hold on gay marriages in Utah)
In June the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, leading to federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Obama administration quickly began to offer a slew of new benefits to same-sex couples that traditionally only married couples have enjoyed.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced over the weekend that same-sex couples will also now be able to claim additional benefits, such as spousal privilege and jointly filing for bankruptcy.
Cruz and Lee contend in a press release that “since the Windsor decision, the Obama Administration’s agenda to force same-sex marriage has led both to the violation of [state primacy] 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 lawmakers say that their State Marriage Defense Act will right those inconsistencies. (RELATED: Herring Virginia ‘on the right side of history’ in same-sex marriage fight)
“It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage,” Lee added. “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.”