Perhaps because he realizes a legal challenge could soon strike down his state's ban on marriage equality and that Republicans are generally losing the battle over equal marriage, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced a bill "defending" states' right to regulate marriage.
The measure "will ensure the federal government gives the same deference to the 33 states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman as it does to the 17 states that have chosen to recognize same-sex unions," according to a Thursday statement from Cruz reported by the Huffington Post.
“I support traditional marriage. Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens,” the statement continues. “The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.”
Cruz's decision to dig in on his opposition to marriage equality serves as a contrast to other conservative Republicans who, perhaps accepting that the political momentum is not in their favor, have abandoned defenses of similar state bans and more or less dropped the issue. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez have both ended state defenses of marriage equality bans despite both taking positions against marriage equality.
The measure has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, but has a co-sponsor in Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who also hails from a red state that has just had its marriage equality ban struck down in court. (The Utah ban is still in effect pending the state's appeal of the ruling.)