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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama administration's decision to recognize same-sex “marriages” in states that do not recognize them undermines the Constitution's protection of states rights, according to two staunch pro-family senators. They have introduced a bill to end that encroachment.

On Thursday, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Mike Lee, R-UT, introduced the State Marriage Defense Act (S 2024). This bill would allow states to preserve and enforce their definition of marriage, as voted on by their people, without interference by the federal government.

A similar bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on January 10 by Rep. Randy Weber, R-TX, and currently has 57 co-sponsors. The bill has a better chance in the Republican-controlled House than Cruz and Lee’s in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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“I support traditional marriage,” Sen. Ted Cruz said. “Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to redefine marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens.”

This bill comes in the wake of a decision by an Obama-appointed judge striking down Utah's marriage protection amendment.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay to his decision, and the state’s law was then enforced by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

But the Obama administration proceeded to announce that it would recognize the same-sex “marriages” that were contracted during its brief period of legalization.

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Currently 17 states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized same-sex “marriage,” many by judicial decree, while 33 states define marriage as being between one man and one woman.  This bill would effectively protect each state’s definition of marriage. 

“How a state defines marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state,” Sen. Lee said.  “It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage.”

Several pro-family groups have expressed support for this bill. The National Organization for Marriage said it “commends these marriage champions in the Senate for defending the votes of many millions of citizens whose values are continually under threat of being overruled by an activist judiciary and an out of control administration.” 

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also applauded Sens. Cruz and Lee for introducing the bill. “After a series of federal agency actions undermining state laws on marriage, we are pleased that Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are stepping in to make sure the federal government respects state marriage laws,” he said. “We appreciate their leadership in introducing a bill that would resolve much of the legal chaos that has been unleashed by the Obama administration since the Supreme Court's marriage ruling last summer.”

Perkins was referring to United States vs. Windsor, in which the United States Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act that barred “married” homosexual couples from receiving federal benefits.  The decision states “[t]he federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.” 

The Family Research Council said that “[t]he State Marriage Defense Act is necessary because current Obama administration policy goes beyond the legal boundaries of Windsor with some federal agencies adopting rules recognizing the same sex relationships of couples, even if they reside in a state that does not recognize their relationship, thereby doing what the court reserved for the states: defining and regulating marriage.”

Sen. Lee says if the law is adopted, it will provide “important protection for states, respecting the right to choose for themselves how each will treat the institution of marriage under the law.”

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