U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee introduced a bill on Thursday that would enable states to ignore the Supreme Court’s mandate to extend rights to same-sex couples in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage.
The State Marriage Defense Act would allow states to apply their own definition of marriage to the law. There are currently 33 states that don’t 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,” Cruz said. “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.”
The Obama administration announced in early February that federal law will start treating married same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples in the federal criminal justice system: when they file for bankruptcy, testify in court or visit family in prison.