Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas waits to be announced to speak at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) meeting, April 29, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington. 
Photo by Cliff Owen/AP

Cruz warns of ‘mandatory’ same-sex marriage

A few weeks ago, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned Democrats’ “devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states.” On Friday, as Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman noted, Cruz used the phrase again.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate who believes that the gay “jihad” may soon lead to the imprisonment of pastors and the end of free speech, told a right-wing radio host yesterday that the legalization of same-sex marriage represents the greatest threat to religious liberty in the history of the United States. […]
Cruz said that the fights over “religious freedom” laws in Indiana and Arkansas were “heartbreaking” examples of how the Democratic Party has “gotten so extreme and so radical in its devotion to mandatory gay marriage that they’ve decided there’s no room for the religious liberty protected under the First Amendment.”
It remains a deeply odd perspective. For one thing, there’s nothing “extreme” or “radical” about support for marriage equality – it’s already legal in most of the country and a clear majority of Americans already support the idea. If anyone’s taking the “extreme” view in the debate, such as it is, it’s Cruz.
For that matter, the notion that proponents of equal-marriage rights will scrap religious freedom altogether is very hard to take seriously. The right-wing senator is probably referring to his concerns about business owners being able to discriminate against gay customers, but as Cruz probably knows, that’s really not what “freedom of religion” is all about.
But then there’s that other phrase the Texas Republican keeps using.
I assume Cruz knows this, but the more he talks about “mandatory gay marriage,” the more I’m inclined to remind him that he probably means “voluntary gay marriage.”
Under every plan I’m aware of, the progressive vision is pretty simple: in the United States, if an adult wants to get married, he or she should be able to do so, whether it’s someone from the opposite gender or someone from the same gender. But there’s nothing “mandatory” about this – it’s about someone choosing to make a commitment to another.
The only “mandatory” aspect of this is that the notion that the law would be required to treat all Americans equally. It would be “mandatory” that there are no second-class citizens.
But “mandatory gay marriage” is still a deeply flawed phrase. Unless he actually believes Americans will be required to marry people of the same gender, Cruz would benefit from a new talking point.