Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a bill last week that would give states the power to decide whether to give married lesbian and gay couples the same federal benefits that heterosexual married couples receive.

The introduction of the so-called State Marriage Defense Act, S. 2024, comes on the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Department of Justice will provide married same-sex couples with equal protection under the law – even if those marriages are not recognized in the state where the couple lives.  According to a press release issued by the Senators, the purpose of S. 2024 is to “protect states from an out of control administration that is seeking to force same sex marriage upon states.” Same-sex marriage is now legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and momentum is growing.

“This is just another attempt to undermine the valid marriages of loving same-sex couples,” said Fred Sainz, the vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign. “We will works with our allies on the Hill, on both sides of the aisle, to make sure this bill does not pass.”

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX-14) in January introduced similar legislation, H.R. 3829, that was “strongly endorsed” by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. 

Media Resources: RH Reality Check 2/18/14; Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz Press Releases 2/13/14; The Washington Post 2/13/14; Feminist Newswire 2/11/14; US Conference of Catholic Bishops Press Release 1/10/14; Human Rights Campaign

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