Jul 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ted Cruz latest Republican to push back against SCOTUS' gay marriage ruling

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz on July 14. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday became the latest Republican to voice opposition to the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, saying on an episode of his podcast "The Cloakroom" with conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler that the ruling was "clearly wrong."

Why it matters: The Supreme Court's recent ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade has prompted many Democrats and activists to warn that other legal precedents such as contraception and gay marriage could be next to be overturned.

  • In his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should reconsider opinions protecting same-sex relationships, marriage equality and access to contraceptives.

What they're saying: "Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation's history. Marriage was always an issue that was left to the states," Cruz said.

  • “We saw states before Obergefell that were moving — some states were moving to allow gay marriage. Other states were moving to allow civil partnerships. There were different standards that the states were adopting and had the court not ruled in Obergefell, the democratic process would have continued to operate.”
  • “In Obergefell, the court said, 'No, we know better than you guys do,'” he said. “Now every state must sanction and permit gay marriage."
  • "I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided. It was the court overreaching.”

With regards to being overturned, Cruz said he agreed with the Supreme Court's proposition that Roe v. Wade was "qualitatively different" from other precedents because it dealt with "the taking of a human life."

  • Cruz added that it would be "more than a little chaotic" for the Supreme Court to overturn gay marriage and that he doesn't believe the current justices have "any appetite for overturning any of these decisions."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told reporters in May that he also believed that Obergefell was "wrongly decided" but said he believed that it was "settled law" and that he would be "shocked" if it were overturned, Business Insider reported.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) earlier this year went so far as to say that Obergefell created a right "not even mentioned in the Constitution" and therefore called the court's "independence and the legitimacy ... into question," per MSNBC.

  • Cornyn later told Insider that he didn't believe concerns about gay marriage were "reasonable inference" based on the leaked draft document revealing the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe.

State of play: Some Republicans, like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have sought to downplay the likelihood that the Supreme Court would reconsider other precedents in the wake of the overturning of Roe.

  • Congressional Democrats are preparing legislation to codify nationwide contraceptive access, LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights — and even potentially long-settled precedent on interracial marriage, Axios' Andrew Solender writes.
  • When asked where they stood on such efforts, more than 20 Senate Republicans — including several seen as moderates or bipartisan dealmakers — declined to commit to a position.
  • Cruz is a longtime opponent of the Obergefell ruling.

The big picture: According to a Gallup poll released last month, a record high of 71% of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage.

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