Two Tennessee lawmakers have unveiled a bill aimed at nullifying gay marriage in the state in a move that is a being seen as a direct and defiant response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex nuptials across the nation back in June.
Titled the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act," the bill, which was filed on Thursday by state Reps. Mark Pody and Mae Beavers, strictly defines marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, according to the Tennessean.
"Natural marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman as recognized by the people of Tennessee remains the law in Tennessee, regardless of any court decision to the contrary," text of the bill states. "Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including [Obergefell v. Hodges], is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect."
Tennessee is state in which voters had overwhelmingly passed an amendment banning same-sex marriage back in 2006, but the state — like the other 49 in the union — has been precluded from banning the distribution of gay marriage licenses following the Supreme Court's ruling on the matter.
It's not likely that the bill would be seen as constitution if it did pass when the state's General Assembly takes it up, reported the Tennessean.
Beavers has said that Tennessee's view on marriage should trump the Supreme Court's view, saying that the high court's decision was "blatantly an overstep of ... authority."
"It is time that states like Tennessee stand up against the judicial tyranny of which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently warned," she told the Chattanoogan. "This legislation deems that any court decision purporting to strike down the state’s definitions of natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, is void in Tennessee."
Throughout its eight pages of text, Pody and Beavers explain why, in their view, the state should ignore the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, as it is considered an "unlawful" order and "should be resisted."
The bill also calls for the state's attorney general to defend officials from any lawsuits that would come as a result of its potential enactment.
"No state or local agency or official shall give force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s laws protecting natural marriage," the bill reads. "No state or local agency or official shall levy upon the property or arrest the person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding natural marriage within Tennessee."
Tennessee's General Assembly will consider the bill when lawmakers return for the next legislative season in January.
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