Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) has introduced a bill called the “State Marriage Defense Act of 2014,” which seeks to limit federal recognition of same-sex marriage in lieu of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Since DOMA was overturned, the federal government has begun recognizing same-sex marriages wherever they are legally performed, even if the couple then moves to a state that doesn’t have marriage equality. Weber’s bill would eliminate this “place of celebration” recognition and prevent the government from recognizing same-sex marriages except in states that do as well.
In an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on Thursday, Weber admitted he hadn’t even yet finished reading the Supreme Court’s decision overturning DOMA. FRC was quick to applaud the bill, both in a press release and in its daily email message Thursday afternoon:
Of course, the Obama administration has tried to fill in the blanks by ordering states to recognize all unions, regardless of what their individual constitutions say. In doing so, the Obama administration has created what the Supreme Court specifically condemned: “two contradictory marriage regimes within the same state.” While the court didn’t strike down every state marriage law, the President has tried to — using the power of his federal agencies to offer Social Security, veterans, Medicaid, and other benefits to every couple (regardless of where they live) in a backdoor attempt to expand same-sex “marriage” to every state in America.
But, as Rep. Weber points out, that doesn’t jive [sic] with the Supreme Court’s opinion, which insists that states have the “historic and essential authority to define the marital relation.” Under Congressman Weber’s new bill, the State Marriage Defense Act, the federal government would have to respect the definitions of marriage in all 50 states. A couple’s residence would define their marital status.
If this bill were to pass — which seems unlikely — couples’ marriage status would change as they travel from state to state, endangering the safety and security of their families.
The irony of this tactic is quite obvious. The Defense of Marriage Act, by preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in any state, had the exact opposite impact. It didn’t matter if states allowed marriage equality, DOMA superseded their definition. Now, conservatives suddenly want to recognize how states define marriage in an attempt to again curtail the recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages.
Weber’s bill complements another post-DOMA bill introduced in the House and Senate last year, the so-called “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act,” which would allow anyone in the country to use their religion as justification to not recognize a couple’s same-sex marriage — and thereby discriminate against them. Rather than actually implement some kind of consistency for marriages after they are solemnized, both bills seek to create new opportunities to discriminate against married same-sex couples and deny them full recognition in society.