Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will soon propose an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent the federal government or the courts from nullifying state marriage laws.
Cruz said Monday that a new amendment is needed after the Supreme Court decided not to consider cases involving five states that wanted to appeal lower court rulings that invalidated their laws banning same-sex marriage. That decision by the high court effectively allowed those lower rulings to stand, which some gay marriage proponents in those states celebrated by immediately getting married.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he will propose an amendment to the Constitution to protect state marriage laws. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Cruz argued in response that marriage is a question only for the states, and that a new amendment would be needed to protect state decisions from court interference. He said he would propose it once Congress is back in session later this year, after the mid-term election.
"Traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society," Cruz said. "We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it."
Many expected the Supreme Court to take on the controversial issue, but its contrary decision was seen by most as huge and possibly historic victory for gay marriage supporters. The decision legalizes gay marriage in 24 states plus the District of Columbia, and many have said that number could be pushed higher in light of the Supreme Court's decision to leave in place the lower rulings.
"The Supreme Court's decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible," Cruz said. "By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution."
"The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing," he added.
Cruz also said it's "judicial activism" to allow the lower courts to override state laws put in place by various states.
"Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures," he said.
Cruz's proposal, like others to amend the Constitution, will face an uphill fight. It would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.