In 2015, LGBT Americans and advocates alike rejoiced as the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
Leave it to North Carolina Republicans to spoil the fun.
Three North Carolina lawmakers, Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort) and Rep. Carl Ford (R-Cabarrus) sponsored House Bill 780, the “Uphold Historical Marriage Act.”
HB780 maintains that the U.S. Supreme Court decision oversteps its “constitutional bounds” for striking down “Amendment One.” In 2012, over 60 percent of North Carolina voters cast their ballots in favor of Amendment One, which “prohibited North Carolina from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages or civil unions.”
The bill then goes further, actually quoting the Bible, when it claimed that the bill overstepped “the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become 22 one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, ESV).’”
Absent from this bill is any mention of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which clearly expresses a separation of church and state. This is especially ironic, concerned as these North Carolina lawmakers are about the constitutionality of a Supreme Court decision.
If successful, this draconian measure would nullify the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision and void all gay marriage in North Carolina, including marriages officiated out of state.
However, Greg Wallace, a professor of law at Campbell University, assuaged the fears of LGBT Americans and advocates:
“While people legitimately can disagree with the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, a state legislature cannot overrule the supreme court’s interpretation of the federal Constitution.”
Among the many critics of this bill, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper said:
“The bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”
As the Republican Party continues its dangerous and unprecedented push to the extreme right, it is clear that by normalizing discriminatory behavior, they are becoming more out of touch with regular Americans. Just as North Carolina voted to replace their Republican governor with a Democratic one, look for the authors of HB780 to duck for cover when voters eventually head to the ballot box.
What do you think?
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.