The Tennessee Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage and the state is not obligated to agree with opinions held by Supreme Court Justices.
As we all know, five Supreme Court Justices have recently claimed that there is such a thing as same-sex marriage and that homosexuals have a right to be married. This is a false claim. But, apart from that, it is obviously outside the Supreme Court’s, or any federal court’s, jurisdiction. The Constitution does not define marriage and the legislation about marriage is a state matter. The five Supreme Court Justices, rather than instructing the lower federal courts to stop pretending their opinions about marriage mattered to the states, decided to join with them in the pretense that they had the authority to define marriage for all fifty states.
While some are now claiming all resistance to the opinion of the five Supreme Court Justices to be “treason,” others are taking a different view. Truth In Media reported on Thursday, “Tennessee Lawmakers Introduce Bill Nullifying Gay Marriage Decision.”
On Thursday, almost a thousand conservative Christians gathered at the Tennessee state capitol for a rally today that featured many Republican legislators prepared to fight the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage.
At the rally, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced legislation calling for Tennessee to defend current state law and the constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2006 specifying that only a marriage between a man and a woman can be legally recognized in the state. The “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” rejects the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry and calls on the attorney general and reporter to defend any state or local government official from any lawsuit to the contrary.
House Bill 1412 / Senate Bill 1437 also aims to protect court clerks and ministers who have religious objections to marrying same sex couples from prosecution or civil action.
I don’t like to use the term “nullifying” since that seems to me to imply that the Supreme Court’s decision has some objective force that needs to be canceled. It doesn’t. It is just their opinion usurping the laws of the Constitution and the states. We need to say that the bill ignores the gay “marriage” Supreme Court opinion.
I have no idea if this law has a chance to be passed, but it would be a wonderful way to see a state functioning like it should and demanding the rights recognized in the Tenth Amendment.