Ted Cruz (R-Teabaggistan) and Mike Lee (R-Do you really need to ask?) yesterday
introduced a bill that they call the State Marriage Defense Act to, um, slow down the spread of gay marriage or something. As their press release says (emphasis added):
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, today introduced S. 2024, the State Marriage Defense Act, which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government’s efforts to force any other definition upon them. The bill will ensure the federal government gives the same deference to the 33 states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman as it does to the 17 states that have chosen to recognize same-sex unions.
This comes on the same date that a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Great timing.
I’m not sure how this is supposed to work: the federal government is already out of the marriage-defining business; it leaves that up to the states.
So let’s say Bob and Tom have been living in Alabama for years. One day, they go up to Massachusetts and get married. The federal government needs to decide whether they’re married for purposes of federal benefits, e.g., health insurance, or to see whether they’re allowed to file a joint tax return.
Under the present system, the federal government asks, “Were these two people legally married by a state, following that state’s laws, and in accordance with that state’s definition of marriage?” In this case, yes, Massachusetts, and so Bob and Tom are married for federal purposes.
If Cruz’s bill were to pass, I don’t see how anything would change. Would Georgia say that not only does it not recognize a Massachusetts marriage, but that the federal government isn’t allowed to, either? Are Georgia’s right to define marriage somehow better than Massachusetts’s?
Of course, it’s possible—plausible, even—that I’m barking up the wrong tree, and that this should really be renamed the Get Ted Cruz’s Name in the Papers Act of 2014.
On one hand, I figure I shouldn’t feed the trolls. On the other hand, the east coast has had so much snow lately that there’s a salt shortage; so we need all the conservative tears of poutrage we can get.