Representative Randy Weber (R-Texas) has proposed the “State Marriage Defense Act Of 2014,” a bill which asks federal agencies to look up which state a married same-sex couple legally resides in before issuing them official marital status or benefits.
If the bill were to pass, in states without marriage equality it would effectively contradict the June overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which ruled that limiting the right of marriage to onlya union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. This legislation would also go against the decision made by the Treasury Department in August, which demands that married same-sex couples (regardless of their residential state) be viewed as legally married when filing their federal taxes.
Weber is suggesting that the state’s laws should be the deciding factor when determining if a same-sex couple’s marriage is recognized as legal.
In addition, more and more recent rulings have been in favor of same-sex marriage. In December, the Social Security Administration approved the administration of survivor benefits to those in same-sex marriages.
Weber said in a statement, “The 10th Amendment was established to protect state sovereignty and individual rights from being seized by the Federal Government. For too long, however, the Federal Government has slowly been eroding state’s rights by promulgating rules and regulations through federal agencies,” reported the Huffington Post.
“I drafted the ‘State Marriage Defense Act of 2014’ to help restore the 10th Amendment, affirm the authority of states to define and regulate marriage, as well as, provide clarity to federal agencies seeking to determine who qualifies as a spouse for the purpose of federal law. By requiring that the Federal Government defer to the laws of a person’s state of legal residence in determining marital status, we can protect states’ constitutionally established powers from the arbitrary overreach of unelected bureaucrats.”
Weber stated that he was gaining support and was already backed by twenty-eight co-sponsors, and has the endorsement of the conservative organizations Family Research Council and Heritage Action. However, even politicians who are opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage have backed away from fighting it, as many believe it to be a lost cause. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey withdrew his court appeal after the state legalized same-sex marriage, realizing that his appeal attempt would be unsuccessful.
The Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, also decided against appealing the court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, stating on Monday January 6 that “it’s now the law of the land.”