Bill Could Force Fed Government to Recognize State Marriage Laws

A bill proposed by a Texas congressman would prevent the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where such unions are not legal.

BY Michelle Garcia

January 10 2014 3:36 PM ET

Texas congressman Randy Weber introduced legislation Thursday that would bar the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples who live in states where marriage equality has not been established.

A couple's place of residency would have to be verified as one of the states or other jurisdictions (such asWashington, D.C.) with marriage equality in order to be recognized by the federal government under Weber's proposed State Marriage Defense Act. He said this is an attempt to uphold the Tenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which allows for states to govern themselves in matters not under the jurisdiction of the federal governent.

"For too long, however, the federal government has slowly been eroding state’s rights by promulgating rules and regulations through federal agencies," Weber said in a statement Thursday. He added, "By requiring that the federal government defer to the laws of a person’s state of legal residence in determining marital status, we can protect states’ constitutionally established powers from the arbitrary overreach of unelected bureaucrats.”

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, the federal goverment has begun recognizing same-sex marriages that took place in any state or city where such marriages are legal, no matter where the couple lives.

Weber introduced his legislation with 28 House cosponsors. It is supported by several antigay organizations, including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Concerned Women for America. 

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