TN House Passes Bill Letting Clerks Refuse Marriage Licenses to LGBTQ Couples

The invoice is a direct problem to federal marriage equality protections.

The Republican-controlled Tennessee state Home of Representatives voted on Monday to go a invoice that may enable county officers to disclaim same-sex or interracial {couples} marriage licenses.

House Bill 878 states that county clerks and their employees “shall not be required to solemnize a wedding if the particular person has an objection to solemnizing the wedding based mostly on the particular person’s conscience or non secular beliefs.” The invoice now heads to the Senate, which will begin consideration of its passage in the chamber next week.

If the invoice turns into state legislation, it might immediately problem federal marriage equality protections, together with Supreme Courtroom rulings and the recently-passed Respect for Marriage Act.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which handed within the final congressional session and was signed into legislation by President Joe Biden, requires states to acknowledge same-sex marriage licenses from different states however doesn’t require them to situation same-sex marriage licenses themselves — which means that if federal marriage equality protections are ever undone by the conservative-led Supreme Courtroom, states would have the ability to deny same-sex {couples} the best to marry.

Federal marriage equality protections have been in place since 2015, when the Supreme Courtroom dominated in Obergefell v. Hodges that states should grant same-sex {couples} the best to marry. Many years earlier, within the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia , the Courtroom dominated that states couldn’t ban interracial marriages.

Within the Supreme Courtroom case upending abortion rights final summer time, nevertheless, Justice Clarence Thomas urged that justices ought to re-examine Obergefell and different instances based mostly on “due course of” precedents and the best to privateness commonplace beforehand established by the Courtroom

The Tennessee invoice, which has a excessive probability of passing, has the potential to upend marriage equality protections throughout the nation — if the invoice turns into legislation, it would seemingly be challenged, leading to appeals that would work their method as much as the Supreme Courtroom.

Critics condemned the invoice for being a blatant assault on LGBTQ {couples} within the state, mentioning that the legislature has already passed a number of bills aimed at restricting the rights of LGBTQ people.

“Extremist Tennessee lawmakers are unrelenting of their discriminatory assaults on the LGBTQ+ group,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow, including that this invoice and different anti-LGBTQ payments “are about stripping away the fundamental human rights that LGBTQ+ folks have fought for over many years, forcing LGBTQ+ folks, significantly transgender and non-binary folks, again within the closet and labeling us as harmful.”

“The Tennessee Home of Representatives continues to be one of the harmful legislative chambers within the nation for LGBTQ+ folks,” Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders said.

A fast message earlier than you retain studying

We’re proud to publish actual information twelve months of the yr, fully freed from cost to our readers. However producing high-quality, impartial work isn’t cost-free – we rely closely in your help.

When you discovered the piece above helpful, informative, or inspiring, please think about supporting Truthout with a tax-deductible donation. A present of any measurement makes a distinction and helps maintain this distinctive platform alive.