News (USA)

GOP lawmaker introduces bill to strip federal courts of power to rule on marriage equality

GOP lawmaker introduces bill to strip federal courts of power to rule on marriage equality
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) AP

WASHINGTON — Less than a week before the U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear arguments over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, a GOP lawmaker has introduced legislation to strip federal courts of their power to interpret the Constitution as it relates to such matters.

The “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act,” introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), has already picked up seven House co-sponsors – all of them Republican – including familiar names like Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

King’s bill would strip away Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage, reports The Hill.

The bill would also prohibit federal funds from being used for any litigation in, or enforcement of any order or judgment by, any federal court.

“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

King said his bill would stop the courts from “destroying traditional marriage.”

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U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-Texas) floated the idea earlier this month when he threatened similar action if the high court rules this summer in favor of marriage equality.

MSNBC notes that as a matter of history, Congress has never actually passed a court-stripping scheme, and even if the GOP-led House tried to pursue this idea in 2015, there’s little chance it would survive a Democratic filibuster in the Senate or get President Obama’s signature.

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