Two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee
have re-introduced a bill that seeks to prohibit same-sex weddings in
According to the Tennessean, the
legislation, known as the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,”
would void the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling stating that gay and
lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. Without the
high court's ruling, Tennessee's laws and a constitutional amendment
defining marriage as between a man and a woman – approved in 2006
by 81 percent of voters – would take effect. The bill also
threatens state workers who recognize any court ruling that affirms
same-sex unions with arrest and would require the Tennessee attorney
general to defend the state's marriage laws in court.
Similar legislation was introduced in
2017. At the time, lawmakers estimated that $9 billion in federal
funding could be in jeopardy if the bill became law. But it's
uncertain how the Trump administration would react.
Senator Mark Pody, a Republican from
Lebanon, sponsored the legislation in 2017 and this year's bill.
He's joined by Representative Jerry Sexton, a Republican from Bean
Sexton, who is still working with Pody
on the bill's text, said that the high court's Obergefell
ruling left Tennessee with “confusion” about its marriage laws.
“What we have to do is we have to
pass laws that go back to the courts and let them be challenged,”
said. “I don't know that this bill will do that. I'm not
advocating a lawsuit or anything. We're bringing it up for the
He added that it was too early to say
what the “exact intent” of the bill is. “We've got to get it
exactly right so that we can explain it. I'm not ready to explain it
in depth,” he said.