Cruz says marriage equality, like abortion, should be left to states

AP Photo/Michael Wyke
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center Friday, May 27, 2022, in Houston.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday said Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court precedent that legalized same-sex marriage, should be overturned with states left to decide their own marriage laws.

On his podcast “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” the Texas lawmaker compared Obergefell to Roe v. Wade, which the Supreme Court overturned last month, ending 50 years of the constitutional right to abortion.

“Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation’s history,” Cruz said, arguing that marriage had always been left to the states, and the democratic process should have been allowed to continue at the state level.

“If you succeeded in convincing your fellow citizens, then your state would change the laws,” he said. “In Obergefell, the court said, ‘No, we know better than you.'”

“And now every state must sanction and permit gay marriage,” he added. “I think that decision was clearly wrong when it decided. It was the court overreaching.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who voted to overturn Roe, wrote in his concurring opinion the court should reconsider Obergefell V. Hodges and two other precedents creating the right to contraception and the right to privacy in the bedroom.

In his argument, Thomas questioned the Due Process Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment, which gives Americans the right to life and liberty without undue interference from the government. It has often been interpreted as a right to privacy.

Thomas’s call to reconsider those cases shocked human rights activists and led to a petition to impeach him, which has so far collected more than one million signatures.

Cruz last month called the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “massive victory for life,” adding that the ruling itself did not make abortion illegal, though it has allowed states to do so.

“What this decision does is leave abortion policy up to the states and returns power to the American people — which is exactly how questions of abortion were handled before Roe,” he said.

However, the senator said there was not a “mass movement” to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges like there was to overturn Roe v. Wade and reversing the 2015 court case would “be more than a little chaotic” because many people have now married under the right.

“I think that would be a factor that would counsel restraint, that the court would be concerned about. But to be honest, I don’t think this Court has any appetite for overturning any of these decisions,” Cruz said. “I think Justice Thomas was being a purist in terms of what the Constitution means. But I don’t think there are other justices interested in going down that route.”

This story was updated at 10:46 a.m.

Tags Clarence Thomas Obergefell v. Hodges right to privacy Same-sex marriage Supreme Court Ted Cruz

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