As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a case that could overturn state laws that restrict marriage to only between a man and a woman, public support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high. But that hasn’t stopped Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) from launching a last ditch effort to limit marriage to just heterosexual couples.
Cruz filed two bills this week, one of which would establish a constitutional amendment protecting from legal action states that define marriage as only between a man and a woman, according to Bloomberg News. The other would stop federal courts from considering the same-sex marriage issue until that amendment is in place.
While the legislation isn’t likely to make it far in the Senate – similar legislation Cruz introduced last year also failed – the freshman senator is sending a message to evangelical voters by proposing the bills early in his campaign.
The Texas senator, who officially launched his campaign last month, has previously pushed for legislation that would leave the decision of whether to recognize same-sex marriages up the states. “I support traditional marriage and we should reject attempts by the Obama administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states,” Cruz said in a statement in February when he announced the bill.
While that rhetoric has been beneficial in appealing to religious, conservative Republicans, Cruz has struck a different tone as he campaigns and seeks contributions from gay donors. At an event on Monday hosted by two prominent gay businessmen, he avoided talking about same-sex marriage and told people he would not love his daughters any differently if one of them were gay, according to the New York Times.
Recent polling shows that a record six in ten Americans support same-sex marriage and as of last year, 61 percent of young Republicans were in favor of allowing it. Nevertheless, Cruz is not alone among Republican presidential candidates in continuing to oppose it. He and other GOP candidates continue to call for a constitutional ban and have supported other measures to discriminate against gay and lesbian people
Earlier this week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is considering a presidential campaign, published an op-ed in the New York Times with the headline “I’m holding firm against gay marriage.” Jindal argued that people and businesses should have the religious liberty to choose not to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies. Both Indiana and Arkansas both recently backed away from legislation which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.
“Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?” Jindal wrote. “That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all.”
Other potential 2016 candidates like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have also been outspoken against same-sex marriage. Huckabee has offered some bizarre comparisons to same sex marriage, saying asking people to accept it is like asking a Jew to eat bacon. But he has still been unable to provide any negative consequences of allowing gay people to marry.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has taken a more moderate tone, saying “we live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law” when same-sex marriage became legal in Florida earlier this year.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.