Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have introduced legislation that seeks to allow states to decide on gay marriage.

The State Marriage Defense Act seeks to protect states from any federal efforts to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

The legislation appears to be a response to Attorney General Eric Holder's Saturday announcement that the Justice Department will treat the marriages of gay couples – regardless of where they live – equal to those of their straight counterparts.

(Related: Eric Holder: Justice to treat marriages of gay couples equally.)

“How a state should define marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state,” Lee stated. “It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its efforts to force states to redefine the institution of marriage. The State Marriage Defense Act provides an important protection for states, respecting the right to choose for themselves how each will treat the institution of marriage under the law.”

Cruz echoed Lee's sentiments in a statement.

“The Obama administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states,” Cruz said. “We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.”