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Natural marriage bill delayed until 2018

Xavier Smith • Mar 30, 2017 at 3:25 PM

A bill that would define marriage as between one man and one woman was delayed until 2018 after a House subcommittee meeting Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, contradicted a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage in 2015. The bill also called for the rejection of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry.

Pody opted to roll the bill, noting two pending lawsuits relative to same-sex marriage in Tennessee. A fiscal note attached to the bill estimated $9 billion in federal funding could be in jeopardy if the legislation passed.

The bill also prohibited state and local agencies and officials from giving force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s natural marriage law. It eliminated the arrest of any “person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding natural marriage within Tennessee.”

A press conference scheduled by state legislators last month abruptly ended after protestors began shouting in opposition of the marriage bill, as well as the controversial bathroom bill, which was previously also rolled by Pody. That bill would have required students in state high schools and colleges to use restrooms and locker room facilities that align with the sex indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.

Protesters packed the conference room in the Legislative Plaza, and shortly after Pody began to speak, they started to chant, “pull the bill.” 

Pody stopped and asked if he could finish, and when the crowd continued to chant, he said, “I appreciate you all coming. Thank you very much.”

Pody and Beavers then left the room and went to their respective offices. Protesters followed them and apparently confronted them. Law enforcement officers were on hand to escort the legislators.

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