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by
Bridget Johnson

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February 13, 2014 - 11:34 am

Two Tea Party senators today introduced companion legislation to a bill that would ensure the federal government recognizes a state’s choice on how it defines marriage.

Currently, 33 states define marriage as a union between a man and a woman while 17 states recognize same-sex unions.

“How a state should define marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state,” said State Marriage Defense Act co-sponsor Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage. 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.”

Co-sponsor Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) 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,” Cruz said. “This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.”

The senators say that the United States v. Windsor ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional “requires the federal government to respect the primacy of the states in defining marriage.”

Last month, Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) introduced the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 in the House. Co-sponsors include Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

“Despite striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor did not institute a new Federal definition of marriage that includes same sex marriage. Instead, United States v. Windsor specifically required the Federal Government to defer to ‘state sovereign choices about who may be married’ in determining marital status for Federal purposes,” that bill states.

“United States v. Windsor reaffirmed that the ‘historic and essential authority to define the marital relation’ rests with the States and criticized Federal actions that ‘put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws’. Congress recognizes that current actions by the Federal Government to afford benefits to certain relationships not recognized as marriages by a person’s State of residence go beyond the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor. These Federal actions create ‘two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State,’ in direct contradiction of United States v. Windsor,” it continues.

“Actions taken by the Federal Government to grant recognition of marital status for persons not recognized as married in their State of domicile undermine a State’s legitimate authority to define marriage for its residents.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
KarlNorth- Yes, lets stop wasting time trying to get out rights back, and let's just blindly follow the Dems and continue spending ourselves into oblivion.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (15)
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Funny, just last week Ted Cruz was saying the Feds should intervene in CO and WA re: their cannabis laws. Mr. Cruz seems a trifle confused about states rights. Your either for states rights or not. Anchor baby Senor Cruz seems to want to have it both ways.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marijuana dealing is a Federal crime, which supersedes State law.

There isn't anything in the Constitution that allows the Federal government to define "marriage", so that should be covered under the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people".
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The same reasoning that federal judges have been using to overturn existing state laws and constitutions and mandate gay marriage (and polygamy) make this law unconstitutional as well. The answer is a constitutional amendment: "Each individual state shall have the power to regulate marriage and adoption, save that no state shall make reference to race or color." This last section refers to Loving v. Virginia.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Somehow, I am still surprised to read that marriage law is or should be the province of state governments only. That has not been the case since Loving v. Virginia. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Under the 14th Amendment, each of us has dual citizenship, state and federal, and no American state can have (or long keep) laws that deny American citizens their rights. It is almost insulting for people to hold forth on marriage law being the exclusive province of state governments as if they think their audiences have not yet read the news from 1967, Loving.

Marriage is a contract (or can be). The Constitution's full faith and credit clause requires each state to honor contracts from other states. So, legalizing same sex marriage in any state effectively legalizes it in every state. That, at least, is my understanding, prediction, and preference. (I have never married anyone. Some wag defined a bachelor as a man who never makes the same mistake once.)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
We've lost our way. Some people think that homosexuals have a right to marry and take a mother away from a baby that they've arranged to purchase. They've been trained by decades of propaganda to feel good about themselves for thinking like that. (Look up “The Overhauling of Straight America” to find out about the propaganda campaign.)

Some people deny a child’s need for a mother and father, but not the adult desire for a same sex partner. They want to disconnect marriage from biology and blood ties and center everything on adult desire. That’s a terribly unstable basis for marriage. Marriage needs to be centered in biology.

We haven’t heard back yet from children who are being raised in same sex households. There haven’t been enough of them to study. Wait another 20 – 30 years, if the mainstream press ever reports on how they’re doing.

Until we get our heads back on straight again (no pun intended), our laws won't save us, because our laws reflect who we've become.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with asserting that no research has been made without even trying to find if some have been done is that it takes google to prove you wrong.
http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/LGBT-Families-Lit-Review.pdf
http://www.cpa.ca/cpasite/userfiles/Documents/Marriage%20of%20Same-Sex%20Couples%20Position%20Statement%20-%20October%202006%20(1).pdf
http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2010/10/27/amicus29.pdf

and more and more...

"Marriage needs to be centered in biology." (and love is secondary) Who are you to interfere between a consensual agreement between two adults and dictate them what type of contract that can and cannot enter? Conservatives keep winning that Obama shouldn't intervene in their relation with their doctor. If the government can regulate contracts between two individual in the private sphere why shouldn't they also be able to regulate contracts in the business sphere?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
States don't have right.
People have rights; states have powers.
Where states have rights, people don't.

Leaving this power to the States is fine.
Giving the States a right, any right, is a fatal error.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
You do know the Bill of Rights, specifically the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, don't you?

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, I do know the Bill of Rights.
Let's see . . .

"The powers not delegated . . ."

Gee, isn't that what I said?
Let me double check:

"People have rights; states have powers."

Well look at that, it is.

Perhaps you should have checked that yourself while going through the work of copying it.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
They both have rights.

The 'rights' that we elucidate in the constitution are already ours at birth, constitution or no. No government of any form grants them. 'Rights" in a legal sense just mean that we've written them down and that the government cannot infringe upon them. So just as we as people are protected from the [Federal] government in our sovereignty by the constitution against unwarranted use of power, so are the States protected from the Federal government.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well actually, they do not.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about States, or the federal government, having any sort of "rights" at all.
States certainly have powers, just as the federal government, and the people for that matter, have powers. Indeed just as there is separation of powers within the federal government there is a separation of powers within the levels of government - federal level, state level, county level, town/municipality level, and the people themselves.

That separation in no way means any level of government has them as "rights" - things that are theirs by "birthright" - or "establishment-right", or however you want to phrase it. They have them solely as a grant from the people, and they can be altered, transferred, or withdrawn at any time. This is distinct from the rights of people, including those additionally enumerated in the Bill of Rights, which we possess as an actual birthright - simply by virtue of being alive - and which cannot be altered, transferred, or withdrawn by any just government.

Anytime anyone speaks of the state - meaning government in general and not just the several States of the United States - having a "right" to something it is invariably in the context of said state doing something that disparages the rights of individuals:
The government has a "right" to supervise land; the Kelo decision.
The government has a "right" to establish national security; NSA wiretaps.
The government has a "right" to fight enemies; drone strikes on American citizens without trial.

So no, no state (or State) has any rights, ever.
They have powers and duties, but the moment they have rights, people lose theirs.
Always.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Randy Weber, Michele Bachmann, James Lankford, and Jim Jordan are sponsoring these bills. Reads like a who's who of ineffective legislators. These bills will go nowhere. More waste of time.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
KarlNorth- Yes, lets stop wasting time trying to get out rights back, and let's just blindly follow the Dems and continue spending ourselves into oblivion.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, someone discovered the 9th and 10th amendments?

Go further ye brave Tea Parties, where the states recognize contracts only, and not the spiritual realm! Let the spiritual realm rule in the decisions that individuals make, to recognize within their self created non state bounds, whatever they may - freely choose - to call and honor those cherished self chosen bonds.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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