Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he believes the Supreme Court was "clearly wrong" when it decided in a 2015 ruling that same-sex marriage was legal under the Constitution.
The landmark LGBTQ rights case made it illegal for any state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to deny a marriage certificate to same-sex couples, citing the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
In a clip from his Verdict+ podcast posted Saturday on YouTube, Cruz discussed the "vulnerability" of the ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, arguing the issue should be a decision left to the states.
"Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation's history," Cruz argued in the clip from his podcast. "Marriage was always an issue that was left to the states. We saw states before Obergefell — some states were moving to allow gay marriage, other states were moving to allow civil partnerships. There were different standards that the states were adopting."
The "democratic process would have continued to operate" if the Supreme Court had not ruled the way it did, he said. "In Obergefell the Court said, 'no, we know better than you,' and now every state must sanction and permit gay marriage."
Cruz has long criticized the decision and voiced opposition to same-sex marriage. After the decision was handed down in 2015, the Republican lawmaker told NPR states not involved in the specific lawsuit should disregard the ruling.
"Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it," he said. Cruz also said in that interview he'd make opposition to gay marriage "front and center" in his 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign, which he lost to former President Donald Trump.
Though Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the high court in overturning Roe v. Wade, stated "nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion," Justice Clarence Thomas went further in his concurring opinion.
"In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is 'demonstrably erroneous,' we have a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents," he wrote.
Most Americans support same-sex marriage, with a Gallup poll from May 2021 showing 70% of the U.S. population approving of gay marriage, including 55% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats, and 73% of political independents.
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