North Carolina lawmakers introduce gay marriage ban bill

Experts say bill mostly symbolic, troubling sign for LGBT treatment

Three Republican representatives in the North Carolina state government have presented a bill that would ban gay marriage in the state. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale and Carl Ford are the sponsors of House Bill 780, nicknamed the Uphold Historical Marriage Act. The bill argues that the Supreme Court overstepped their power in 2015 when they struck down an amendment passed by public referendum in 2012 that prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriage in North Carolina. The bill also cites Genesis 2:24 when defending the sole recognition of heterosexual marriage. This is opposed to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that “there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage.”

Most people agree that the bill is probably going to end up being symbolic in nature. Greg Wallace, a professor of law at Campbell University, said, “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.” Even so, outrage came out from the socially progressive corners of North Carolina. “Ideally the people who make laws would be helping to make the situation around discrimination better instead of perpetuating it,” said Ames Simmons, director of North Carolina’s chapter of Transgender Police With Equality. Even the state’s governor, Roy Cooper, flatly stated, “The bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”

This is another hit to North Carolina’s reputation among supporters of LGBT rights. Two weeks ago, North Carolina was forced to repeal their much-criticized “bathroom bill” that required transgender people to use the restroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate without regard to their current gender identity. That repeal was only able to pass because of a provision that prevents cities and school districts from passing anti-discrimination laws locally for four years, so the repeal did not receive the applause lawmakers may have hoped for.

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