Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, is ripping Attorney General Eric Holder for recognizing same-sex marriages in Utah – even saying his move to circumvent the Supreme Court is an impeachable offense – and is introducing legislation to strengthen federal laws allowing states to determine their own definitions of marriage.
In December, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled Utah’s definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional. He also refused to stay his decision to allow the appeals process to play out. Until the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the ruling, roughly 1,000 same-sex couples were legally married in Utah.
State officials quickly announced those marriages would not be recognized by the state, but Attorney General Holder countered by saying the federal government would consider them valid.
Weber is appalled by the actions of both Shelby and Holder.
“Well, obviously activist judges, as a Republican and conservative, we know that they get it wrong. They get it wrong so often. I was encouraged on the other side of that coin, that the Supreme Court issued a stay until they get to fully weigh in on this court decision,” Weber told WND.
“The attorney general, man, in my opinion, this guy is incorrigible. They’ve gone around Congress on so many issues, with Fast and Furious, and there’s just a whole bunch of refusing to defend (the Defense of Marriage Act) and now coming in even though the Supreme Court has issued a stay. This guy goes around the Supreme Court and says, ‘Well, we’ll recognize it.’ Where does he get that power to say we’ll go around the Supreme Court? This guy needs to be impeached and [thrown] out of office,” he said.
Listen to WND’s interview with Rep. Weber below:
A similar scenario played out Tuesday in Oklahoma, where a federal judge ruled that state's marriage laws were also unconstitutional but stayed enforcement of the decision pending appeal.
In response to what he considers judicial activism, Weber is sponsoring the "State Marriage Defense Act of 2014." He said the bill not only strengthens the remnants of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, but is based on the logic expressed in last year's Supreme Court decision on marriage.
"The Supreme Court basically said in their U.S. v. Windsor case that Congress didn't have the right to define marriage. It's up to the states, "Weber said. "OK, well, now there's confusion because the different agencies are wanting to give federal same-sex benefits and they don't know whether to choose the law of the state of domicile or the laws of the state of celebration. My bill says you must act on the laws of domicile. This clarifies. This takes the ambiguity out of the Supreme Court's ruling."
In addition to clearing up the uncertainty following the Supreme Court decision, Weber said it is very important to respect the right of states to define institutions as they see fit.
"What it does is it upholds states' rights. If the people of Massachusetts want to decide that gay people have right to marry in Massachusetts, that's up to Massachusetts. If the people in Texas decide, and we've got it in our constitution, that we define marriage and we don't recognize gay marriage, by golly that's up to the people of Texas," Weber said.
"Texas won't tell Massachusetts that you must recognize marriage based on Texas laws, and we don't expect Massachusetts to tell Texas that we must recognize marriage based on their laws. That's an individual states' rights issue. People in Texas uphold that traditional family unit of marriage between a man and a woman, and if Massachusetts chooses to do it between whatever, that's up to Massachusetts," he said.
"You can see him going around Congress and just having a blatant disregard for the Constitution in a whole myriad of issues, whether it's Benghazi and being truthful ... on the immigration issue he has recognized some of the children when Congress is not through having that debate yet on those who are here without documentation," he said.
"He has abdicated what I would call his supposed upholding of the Constitution. He has trampled on the states doing that. Obamacare is an example, instead of states having the right to define insurance markets in their own states and to regulate them. You can go into Obamacare with all of the navigators. In the state of Texas, we have the Department of Insurance, who license insurance agents. Here you come in with navigators who have a whopping 20 hours worth of training.
"They have not been thoroughly vetted or background checked. Are they felons? Are they criminals? Are they child molesters or spouse abusers? I mean, he has just gone around the states on a whole myriad of issues. In my opinion, we have a constitutional crisis because of this guy."
Less than a week after first introducing the bill, Weber has already received support from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, National Organization for Marriage and Concerned Women for America among others.
Getting it through Congress is a taller order, however. Most congressional Democrats are now on the record supporting same-sex marriage. Weber does have the support of a group of black pastors and one House Democrat, and he believes his focus on preserving power for the states could draw even more because the bill is just "common sense."
Weber also believes the Supreme Court will have a lot to say about this issue, surmising the Court would not have stayed Shelby's decision if it didn't plan to hear the case. He's less sure which way the justices would rule on a state's right to define marriage for itself, but he's confident about what the Constitution has to say about it.
"I would argue as a conservative and as an advocate for the Constitution, the Supreme Court doesn't have to decide states have the right. We've got the right," he said. "All you have to do is look to the 10th Amendment. So if they struck down the third section of DOMA and said Congress doesn't have that right, then read your Constitution. Read the 10th Amendment. The only other people that have that right are the citizens and the states respectively."