Updated 5:49 p.m. | While most Republicans shied away from commenting Monday on the Supreme Court's historic decision to let stand a slew of lower court rulings legalizing gay marriage, Sen. Ted Cruz torched the court's decision.
The Texas Republican called the decision "tragic and indefensible" and said he would introduce a constitutional amendment that would ensure states can ban gay marriage.
“By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing," he said in a statement. “This is judicial activism at its worst. The Constitution entrusts state legislatures, elected by the People, to define marriage consistent with the values and mores of their citizens. Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures."
Cruz noted that the decision likely paves the way for gay marriage in 11 states: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. And it sets the stage for gay marriage nationwide.
“It is beyond dispute that when the 14th Amendment was adopted 146 years ago, as a necessary post-Civil War era reform, it was not imagined to also mandate same-sex marriage, but that is what the Supreme Court is implying today. The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment," he said.
“Nothing in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the 14th Amendment or any other constitutional provision authorizes judges to redefine marriage for the Nation. It is for the elected representatives of the People to make the laws of marriage, acting on the basis of their own constitutional authority, and protecting it, if necessary, from usurpation by the courts."
The Democratic National Committee immediately jumped on Cruz's remarks — blasting them out alongside photos of happy gay and lesbian couples.
Aside from Cruz, one other congressional Republican has weighed in on the case — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who called the decision not to take up the cases "disappointing."
"Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. ... The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right.”
Republicans, in general, have shied away from talking about gay rights of late as polls increasingly favor gay marriage. That's a sharp contrast from a decade ago when President George W. Bush backed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage during his re-election bid. GOP-backed votes on an amendment were held in both chambers in 2006 and failed.
Cruz's talk of amending the Constitution, meanwhile, has essentially no chance of success.
Several Democrats have praised the decision.
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