Friday, October 10, 2014

Ted Cruz introduces "Son of DOMA", proposes constitutional amendment turning marriage back to the states

There were rumors Thursday that Texas Senator Ted Cruz, well known for his intransigence on government shutdowns and even the debt ceiling back in 2013, wants to reintroduce a federal constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman.  I even jumped on this as “hot air” and tweeted an inaccurate comparison to Rick Santorum’s silly attempt to take the time in the Senate on his matter in the summer of 2004, right on C-Span (with a Bruckner symphony playing in the intermissions) when Diane Feinstein protested that we hadn’t even gotten the anti-terrorism bill done.
But Cruz is playing it a little smarter.  He wants to pass a law, S 2024, “to protect the authority of state legislatures to define marriage”.  He says he will introduce a constitutional amendment in 2015 “to prevent the federal government or courts from striking down state marriage laws”, according to a story on “hot air”, here.
The Senate bill is called the “State Marriage Defense Act of 2014”, link here.  It’s been around since February 2014 but gotten little attention. 

This would be narrower than DOMA, as overturned by the Supreme Court.  It still allows states to vary in the way they handle same-sex marriage and unions, an idea that was viewed as progressive in the 1990s (and I even proposed it myself, as a constitutional amendment, in my DADT-1 book in 1997).   Some observers think that the legislatures of many states would, through political pressure (or provisions in their own state constitutions) legalize gay marriage if left to themselves. (Not to mention that it would take years for an amendment like this to pass, if it ever did.)  But most states in the South, and some states in the West (as with Mormon influence) would not.   Many, however, see this as a libertarian solution, and it was quite credible fifteen years ago, about the time I moved to Minneapolis and interacted with the Libertarian Party of Minnesota and gave my talks at Hamline and the University of Minnesota.  
HRC had sent out a tweet and text yesterday that seemed like arm-twisting and was more than a little but misleading, link here.
Media sources also report today that legally married same-sex couples can now adopt children in Virginia.  

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