from Gwen Aviles
Nearly four years after the Supreme Court made a law on same-sex marriages in the US, Tennessee Republican lawmakers are trying to return the watch with a bill aimed at banning gay marriage in the state.
The Tennessee Natural Marriage Protection Act, which was first proposed in 2016, seeks to "protect the natural marriage between a man and a woman, regardless of any judicial decision to the contrary." The judgment of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges 'unfounded, negligent and ineffective'.
Presented by Senator Mark Poddy and Representative Jerry Sexton, both Republicans, the bill also prohibits government officials from facilitating same-sex marriages and states that these officers can not be arrested for rejecting court orders that recognize such alliances.
Podi told NBC News that the Supreme Court had "exceeded its powers" with Obergefell's decision. He argues that marriage is a "state matter, not a federal issue," and he added, the decision of 2015 is "unconstitutional" and needs to be repaired. "
But while Podi said he was firmly convinced that "marriage must be between man and woman," others think the introduction of the bill is a big step back for Tennessee.
"As a native of Tennessee, it is disappointing to see lawmakers insist on more frivolous, meaningless legislation that will do nothing but isolate LGBT people in an attempt to make us feel less equal," said Nick Morrow, Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign National LGBTQ Advocacy Group: "Equality in marriage is a law and if Tennessee wants to continue to be a welcoming destination for business, tourists and transplantation, our representatives must join us in 2019 . "
The proposed legislation failed in the last session of the House of Representatives, but Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennesian Equality Project, lobbying the state legislators on LGBT issues, said it was unclear how far he would do it.
"We will have a better understanding of the likelihood that the bill will be adopted after the committee's first hearing, so it will be key," Sanders told NBC News.
Sanders noted that there is "still some resistance and prejudice" in the state when it comes to LGBT people, which is "why this bill continues to emerge." He noted that Tennessee is one of the four countries where the population is over 50% of the evangelical Christian. This religious group is among the least likely to support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and strange.
One of the obstacles that could prevent the passage of the bill, however, is its price. In 2017, the General Assembly considered that the Natural Marriage Protection Act could lead to the retention of about $ 9 billion of federal state funding.
Another obstacle is the state LGBTQ community and its allies, who united before to prevent the adoption of the bill, and plan to do so again.
"Tensees who are in the same sex, just want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else," said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU CEO in Tennessee. – Several state legislators can not revoke the law on the ground and drive our country back simply because they want to discriminate. Tennessee's ACLU, along with many partners, will work hard to defeat this narrow-minded, apparently unconstitutional legislation. "
Sanders said there were at least five other bills in the state legislature that could jeopardize LGBT rights in Tennessee. One of them, introduced into the State House and the Senate (Podi is a sponsor of the Senate Bill), seeks to allow private adoption agencies to refuse to take part in childcare services that would violate the Agency's written religious or moral convictions . This type of legislation, which can already be found in 10 countries, creates barriers for LGBT individuals and same-sex couples who want to adopt or adopt children.
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