Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said that the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage was “clearly wrong.”
“Obergefell, like Roe versus Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation’s history,” Cruz told podcast Verdict+. “In Obergefell, the court said, ‘no, we know better than you guys do,’ and now every state must sanction and permit gay marriage. I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided. It was the court overreaching,”
Cruz was referring to Obergefell v. Hodges (pdf), the 2015 Supreme Court decision in which the 5–4 majority ruled that the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples.
The Texas senator takes the position that policies on issues such as gay marriage and abortion should be left to state legislatures to shape.
“Marriage was always an issue that was left to the states. We saw states before Obergefell that were moving—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,” Cruz said.
“And had the court not rolled Obergefell, the democratic process would continue to operate: that if you believe that gay marriage was a good idea, the way the Constitution is set up for you to advance that position is to convince your fellow citizens. And if you succeeded in convincing your fellow citizens, then your state would change the laws to reflect those views,” the senator continued.
The lawmaker’s comments come weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 ruling from the highest court that legalized abortion across the nation, in its June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (pdf).
Cruz, in reference to the concern of court overreach with the Obergefell and Roe decisions, shadowed Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion in Dobbs that the highest court should reconsider cases such as Obergefell that are associated with the doctrine of substantive due process.
In his concurring opinion to the majority ruling, Thomas said that “‘substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that lack[s] any basis in the Constitution” and that “the Due Process Clause does not secure any substantive rights.”
For this reason, Thomas said that “in future cases, [the justices] should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” and that “because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”
Cruz’s comments are not the first time the senator has expressed opposition to the highest’s court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
In 2015, the then-candidate in the Republican primaries said his opposition to the decision would be “front and center” in his presidential campaign.
“That is very much front and center something I intend to campaign on,” he told NPR in 2015.
“And marriage and religious liberty are going to be integral, I believe, to motivating the American people to come out and vote for what’s, ultimately, restoring our constitutional system,” Cruz said.