AUSTIN, Texas — On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reiterated his belief that the U.S. Supreme Court wrongly decided the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage.
His comments come as some speculate the basis behind the opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade could impact other rights, including gay marriage and contraception.
The 5-4 June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges made it illegal to deny same-sex couples a marriage certificate in the U.S., citing the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
In the Supreme Court’s 6 to 3 decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization last month to overturn abortion rights as establish by Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas argued the judicial body should also “correct the error” of the Obergefell decision.
Cruz made his comments during a conversation with conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler on Saturday on his “Verdict with Ted Cruz” podcast.
"Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation's history," Cruz said in 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."
"I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided. It was the court overreaching," he said.
Cruz said he was not sure the court would revisit the Obergefell precedent, agreeing with the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, who said Roe was unique because it concerned “potential life.”
Cruz said he thought the current state of marriages in the U.S. would "counsel restraint" on the court.
"You've got a ton of people who have entered into gay marriages and it would be more than a little chaotic for the court to do something that somehow disrupted those marriages that have been entered into in accordance with the law," Cruz said. "I think that would be a factor that would counsel restraint, that the court would be concerned about. But to be honest, I don't think this court has any appetite for overturning any of these decisions."
But Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs said the Supreme Court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell,” saying those precedents were “demonstrably erroneous.”
Griswold v. Connecticut was a 1965 decision that established the right of married couples to purchase and use contraception without government interference. Lawrence v. Texas was a 2003 decision that ruled criminal penalties are unconstitutional for sodomy or private, consensual sexual acts.
“After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated,” Thomas wrote.
Cruz has long expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell.
In an NPR interview in 2015, Cruz said he would make opposition to same-sex marriage “front and center” of his GOP presidential primary campaign.
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