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Ted Cruz Introduces Bill To Strip Federal Benefits From Married Same-Sex Couples

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Ted Cruz has reintroduced legislation which, among other actions, would strip federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and thus, federal benefits.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is pushing the State Marriage Defense Act, legislation that if signed into law could accomplish two objectives. First, redefine marriage at the federal level to remove from hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples the federal government’s recognition of their marriages, and thus, any corresponding federal benefits they are afforded, now or in the future. And second, should the U.S. Supreme Court not find a right to marriage for same-sex couples, encourage states that do not wish to recognize those marriages to potentially nullify them.

While being framed as states’ rights legislation, the bill’s language makes clear Cruz’s actual intent, and the bill’s ramifications.

“Congress recognizes that current actions by the Federal Government to afford benefits to certain relationships not recognized as marriages by a person’s State of residence go beyond the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor,” the bill reads.

Currently, the federal government has been recognizing all same-sex marriages legally performed in states, even after the state has refused to do so. 

Cruz’s bill also changes the federal definition of marriage, by stating “the term ‘marriage’ shall not include any relationship which that State, territory, or possession does not recognize as a marriage, and the term ‘spouse’ shall not include an individual who is a party to a relationship that is not recognized as a marriage by that State, territory, or possession.’’

In a separate statement, the Texas Senator, a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, attacks President Barack Obama and indirectly, Attorney General Holder. Cruz says “the Obama Administration has disregarded state marriage laws enacted by democratically-elected legislatures to uphold traditional marriage…I support traditional marriage and we should reject attempts by the Obama Administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states. The State Marriage Defense Act helps safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for their citizens.”

Cruz also warns that later this year he “will be introducing a constitutional amendment to further protect marriage and to prevent judicial activism. The amendment will make explicit that marriage is a policy question for the democratically-elected legislatures in each of the 50 states.”

A decade ago, in 2004, the United States’ General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report that “identified a total of 1,138 federal statutory provisions classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.” Cruz’s legislation could strip these from legally married same-sex couples in any state that chooses to not honor their marriages.

Initial sponsors of Cruz’s bill are eleven Republican Senators: John Boozman, R-AR, Mike Crapo, R-ID, Steve Daines, R-MT, James Inhofe, R-OK, James Lankford, R-OK, Mike Lee, R-UT, Pat Roberts, R-KS, Tim Scott, R-SC, Jeff Sessions, R-AL, Richard Shelby, R-AL, and David Vitter, R-LA.

In the House, U.S. Congressman Randy Weber of Texas is sponsoring the bill, and has 23 original co-sponsors, all Republican. 

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump Dodges and Gives an Accidentally Revealing Answer When Confronted on His Anti-LGBT Policies

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When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration’s anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.

The issue was raised by reporter Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:

Washington Blade: Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you OK with those actions?
Trump: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that? They gave me the endorsement yesterday. I was very honored. It was Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, and I was very honored to receive it.
I’ve done very well with that community and some of my biggest supporters are of that community, and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community, as you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way, and they like the job I’m doing, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Washington Blade: But what about those actions?

Having ignored the actual substance of the question, Trump didn’t answer the follow-up.

But his answer actually revealed a lot. Despite his claim to “fight for” the LGBT community, Trump has been particularly antagonistic its members as president.

Related: ‘They’re With Me All the Way’: Trump Uses Log Cabin Endorsement as Shield When Asked About Destroying LGBT Rights

And contrary to what he said, the vast majority of the LGBT community does not and has not supported him. In 2016, Pew Research found:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.

Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.

But this doesn’t matter much to Trump, because he only cares about his supporters. So when asked about the LGBT community, he begins talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a fringe group that does not represent anywhere close to the majority of the community. (As it happens, Jennifer Horn, a member of the group’s board, resigned in protest over the endorsement. And contrary to Trump’s claim, it did not give him an “award.”) And by mentioning Peter Thiel, a wealthy gay investor, Trump is pulling the laughable “I have a gay friend” excuse for being a bigot. He’s refusing to respond to or even consider the actual LGBT community as a whole because he just doesn’t care.

The president has long made clear that he’s only interested in representing his supporters, not the American people as a whole. That’s why he criticizes California when it experiences natural disasters but promises Alabama “A+ treatment” after tornadoes strike. That’s why Sen. Lindsey Graham could point out that Trump wouldn’t be launching racist attacks at a Somali refugee congresswoman if she were “wearing a MAGA hat.” For him, people only deserve basic dignity and respect if they already support him. Unfortunately, the likes of Thiel and the Log Cabin Republicans have to debase themselves to get this recognition.

 

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MESSIAH COMPLEX

#25thAmendmentNow Is Now the Top Trending Topic After Trump Calls Himself ‘The Chosen One’

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President Tweets He’s ‘The Second Coming of God’

President Donald Trump appeared even more unhinged on Wednesday, kicking his day off by posting tweets calling him “the second coming of God,” and the “King of Israel.”  Just hours later Trump trashed the Prime Minister of Denmark, calling Mette Frederiksen’s negative response to him wanting to buy Greenland from them “nasty” – a word he generally reserves for women he does not like.

Shortly thereafter, Trump flip-flopped on his claim just 24 hours earlier that he was thinking about pushing through a payroll tax cut to help get the economy going, amid global fears of a recession. On Wednesday he told reporters he had no intention of implementing any tax cuts.

Trump also scalded veteran NBC News reporter Peter Alexander for simply asking this question: “You said Russia was kicked out of the G8 because they outsmarted Obama; in fact it was because they annexed Crimea… They’re still there, why let them back in?”

And he insisted that he would have to mollify the NRA over any changes in gun policy, while backtracking from his promise to advocate for a law ensuring complete background checks – something the NRA opposes.

But it was during that press gaggle Wednesday afternoon Trump let loose, exploding social media.

He called himself – as he looked up at the sky – “the chosen one” (photo.)

To be clear, it was in reference to his trade war with China, but the religious, messianic inference was palpable.

All this amid the President’s anti-Semitic remarks earlier in the week, when he called the vast majority of American Jews “disloyal” for not voting Republican.

“I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat—I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,”

About 80% of Jewish Americans vote Democrat.

Oh, then Trump declared he is looking “very seriously” at signing an executive order to end the constitutionally-mandated promise of bestowing citizenship at birth to anyone born on U.S. soil.

That’s just a sample of all the insanity Trump has created in under 24 hours.

So perhaps it’s not surprise that #25thAmendmentNow is the top trending topic on Twitter right now, and has been for hours.

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the pathway for the Vice President to declare the President of the United States unfit to continue serving.

 

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News

Trump Says He’s ‘Very Seriously’ Looking at Changing Constitutionally-Mandated Right to US Citizenship

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President Donald Trump says he is looking “very seriously” at altering a constitutional right to citizenship at birth. The president made his remarks during a press gaggle during which he also called himself “the chosen one” as he looked up at the sky. Those remarks came just hours after he tweeted praise calling him “the second coming of God” and “the King of Israel.”

“We’re looking at birthright citizenship very seriously,” Trump told reporters. Birthright citizenship is mandated by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Also known as Jus soli, it dates back to English common law.

Basically the law says that any person on U.S. soil at the time of their birth is a U.S. citizen, regardless of their parent’s nationalities.

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land. You walk over the border, have a baby — congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen,” Trump said, calling it “absurd.”

He told reporters if he were to end it he would do so via executive order.

It’s likely that would be unconstitutional and would absolutely be fought in court.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” the Constitution reads.

Watch the president discuss birthright citizenship:

In addition to likely being unconstitutional, Trump’s attempt to end birthright citizenship would be opposed by many.

Here’s a University of Texas Law professor:

Here’s a conservative, National Review writer David French:

 

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