State Republicans file bill to end marriage equality

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Two Tennessee lawmakers have filed a bill in an effort to extinguish marriage equality in Tennessee.

In the state house, Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) has filed bill HB1412 while in the Senate, Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) has filed bill SB1437, each known as the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act that claims to "defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary."

In effect, the bill claims marriage is an issue for each state to define and that the Supreme Court — by adjudicating the cases that naturally flowed from the states, through the district appeals process, and ultimately to it — had acted outside its jurisdiction when it ruled on the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

The bill begins by acknowledging Tennessee's constitutional amendment, adopted in 2006, that banned marriage equality. It also acknowledges Obergefell, the case in which the Supreme Court (identified here as "five justices" who "issued a lawless opinion") ruled marriage equality to be law nationwide.

Then, across eight pages, the bill submits a laundry list of claims. Many of those claims, closer to the top of the document, reference prior legal opinions. This statement, for example, is in reference to the dissenting opinion from Justice Alito of the Supreme Court regarding the Obergefell case:

the Obergefell opinion “usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage;” Id. at *57 (Alito, J., dissenting);

Pody and Beavers then reference the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which, in summary, was an instance where individual states claimed exemption from a legislative Act, as well as its Supreme Court endorsement. A more detailed description of the Fugitive Slave Act, including the basic human equality liberties and freedoms that states supported by defying it, can be found here.

Then they provide a list of Supreme Court cases in which they believe the justices' decisions were "repulsive to the Constitution and natural law" including: Scott v. Sandford; Buck v. Bell; Korematsu v. United States; Roe v. Wade; and, of course Obergefell v. Hodges.

The heart of the bill, then, is the following statement:

Natural marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman as recognized by the people of Tennessee remains the law in Tennessee, regardless of any court decision to the contrary. Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect.

Read the entire bill, as it was submitted, here:

Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act