Tennessee bill would nullify Supreme Court’s gay ‘marriage’ decision statewide
NASHVILLE, TN, September 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court has no power to impose gay “marriage” on the states, according to a new measure introduced by Tennessee legislators that would ignore the court's decision.
The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act states that in the state Tennessee, marriage is between one man and one woman, "regardless of any court decision to the contrary."
The bill would make a law that "any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect."
Two Wilson County lawmakers – State Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet and Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon, both Republicans – unveiled the bill at a rally at the state Capitol before hundreds of cheering voters.
“The Obergefell case is clearly and blatantly an overstep of the Supreme Court’s authority,” said Sen. Beavers.
The legislators also quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said, "Whenever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."
"It is time that states like Tennessee stand up against the judicial tyranny of which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently warned," Rep. Pody said. “This decision defies constitutional authority, and is one of the most glaring examples of judicial activism in U.S. Supreme Court history.”
Pody complained that the Supreme Court's gay “marriage” decision "not only tramples on states' rights, but has paved the way for an all-out assault on the religious freedom of Christians."
"This bill calls for Tennessee to stand against such unconstitutional action in hopes that other states will stand with us against an out-of-control court legislating from the bench,” Pody concluded.
The proposed bill speaks directly to any contrary court order, including one coming from the U.S. Supreme Court: “No state or local agency or official shall give force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s laws protecting natural marriage.”
The bill also seeks to protect Christians who believe in natural marriage, stating, “No state or local agency or official shall levy upon the property or arrest the person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding natural marriage within Tennessee.”
“Our clerks and Tennessee’s clergy need protection to exercise their religious beliefs,” Sen. Beavers said. “This law would help protect them from prosecution or civil actions.”
The bill notes that Tennesseans have already officially legally defined natural marriage, referring to the 2006 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, which was approved by 81 percent of Tennesseans. The bill upholds marriage "as recognized by the people of Tennessee."
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Protecting marriage has been a deep concern of the people's representatives. On June 30, just four days after the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, nearly half of the state House Republican Caucus gathered in Nashville to discuss a possible legislative response, but they reached no consensus as to what to do.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and Governor Bill Haslam both said on the day of the Supreme Court ruling that it is the law of the land, and will be implemented in Tennessee.
Other lawmakers already introduced a bill to protect clergy members from being forced to officiate same-sex weddings.
The state legislature is out of session until January, so no action can be taken on the proposed bill until then.