Republicans in Tennessee continue to focus on battling LGBTQ equality. On Thursday, Tennessee Senator Mae Beavers and Tennessee Representative Mark Pody introduced two new Partisan Bills to strip citizens of their marriages and the right to use a public bathroom other than one that matches the gender on their birth certificate.
The “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,” is absurd. It is little more than a blatant attack on the separation between church and state and an attempt at imposing Christian law. It would dissolve marriages, and render out of state marriages null and void.
The bill calls the Obergefell decision “an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law” with “no basis in the Constitution,” and states that the SCOTUS “claimed power to create liberties.” The wording gets stronger, stating that Obergefell “flies in the face of reality, the created order, and the law of nature, just as if the Court were to claim authority to strike down the law of gravity.” The bill allows the state to hire counsel to defend the bill all the way to the Supreme Court.
The bill’s lengthy introduction goes on to quote Sir William Blackstone who described the natural law as “dictated by God himself” and “binding over all the globe in all countries and at all times.”
They then have the audacity to quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
The audacity turns to total absurdity by stating, “the Declaration of Independence explicitly recognizes that the Creator has endowed mankind with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, under the rule of law.”
“[…]Our rights come from the Creator, not the State, and our “Constitution –– like the Declaration of Independence before it –– was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from –– not provided by –– the State;” and the Obergefell decision casts these truths aside…”
Then the bill attempts to make the case that the federal ruling shouldn’t affect state law by citing the rebellion against the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters in slave states upon capture. Government officials and citizens of free states were ordered to assist in returning slaves to the masters in the state from which they escaped. The state of Wisconsin was the first state to reject the Act as unconstitutional.
Here’s an attempt to makes sense of this mind-boggling comparison: Today’s Tennessee Republicans are arguing that Wisconsin’s example of fighting for the rights of slaves against the federal government set the precedent that they may now fight against LGBT rights gained since the federal government made the ruling on Obergefell. If you see both slaves and the LGBT as human beings deserving of constitutional protection, this is unconscionable.
They don’t seem to get the irony, one is fighting for human rights and the other is fighting against human rights for citizens. Their logic is flawed, you can not use an argument that was supportive of human rights to strip human rights from people. That is, unless you, don’t think that gay people have a moral right to marry — and the only actual basis for that is religion, not law.
The flaws in the logic result from the reality that it’s based on religious philosophy stating that homosexuality is unnatural, and that’s partly why the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. Keeping the separation of church and state intact preserves our democracy for all Americans.
If there is any question about the fact that these GOP members are directly attacking the “separation of church and state” left here, just watch Mark Pody below as he challenged same-sex marriage in 2016. He flatly states that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state at 4:42.
Featured image from YouTube screenshots