Texas GOPers Take Anti-Constitutional Position on Supreme Court and Marriage

by Dan Quinn

Polls show that a growing majority of Americans support the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples, but that’s not the case specifically among Republicans. In fact, the Texas Republican Party — largely controlled by the religious right for the past two decades — is particularly hostile to the freedom to marry. And some GOP elected officials have been insisting that Texas should essentially ignore a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that strikes down bans on same-sex marriage.

Here are some Texas Republican leaders who are taking such an anti-constitutional position:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking in April:

“If the court tries to do this it will be rampant judicial activism. It will be lawlessness, it will be fundamentally illegitimate.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state’s chief law enforcement officer, in May refused to say whether he would obey a Supreme Court ruling and even suggested that the Texas Legislature could pass a bill blocking the implementation of such a ruling:

“I think it’s really difficult–first of all, we don’t know that’s gonna happen, second of all, we don’t know exactly how that opinion is going to be written. So, you know, that opinion can be written, you know, numerous ways, hundreds of different ways, so it’s really difficult to speculate about what happens in relation to a particular law. In addition, we don’t know what exactly the legislature is gonna pass. We don’t know if it’s gonna pass, and we don’t know whether there are gonna be amendments or changes to it. So to try to match up two things, one that hasn’t passed, and obviously the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled, it’s difficult to decide any determination about how that’s gonna work together.”

Harris County (Houston) Clerk Stan Stanart suggested that the state attorney general — Paxton — is the decider, regardless of the Supreme Court ruling:

“I’m going to have to follow whatever the state attorney general’s guidance is. They’re destroying an institution, the institution of marriage, but I’ll follow what the current law of the land is.”

State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, argues that the Supreme Court doesn’t have “enforcement authority” and tried (unsuccessfully) to pass a bill essentially saying that Texas would not obey a court ruling for the freedom to marry:

“We will simply say, not in Texas.”

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay echoed the enforcement argument:

“A ruling by the Supreme Court is nothing but an opinion if the legislative branch and the executive branch do not enforce it. Not only that, if the states would just invoke the 10th Amendment and assert their sovereignty, they can defy a ruling by the Supreme Court. It’s in the Constitution. We can tell the court what cases they can hear

Of course, Texas doesn’t have the constitutional option of defying a Supreme Court ruling, but politicians might take action to slow down implementation of the ruling. Officials tried that when the high court struck down school segregation — slowing down integration in Texas for many years.

(Hat tip: Talking Points Memo)

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