North Carolina just got a new bill which would ban same-sex marriage.
The bill, HB 780, would declared that the federal government does not have the legal power to regulate marriage.
This would mean that a 2012 constitutional amendment in the state which banned same-sex marriage would remain in effect despite at 2015 US Supreme Court ruling which declared marriage legal across all 50 US states.
The bill’s sponsors say it would enable North Carolina to ignore the Supreme Court ruling.
It reads that the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling “exceeds the authority of the Court relative to 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 one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24, ESV) and abrogates the clear meaning and understanding of marriage in all societies throughout prior history.”
Republican Representative Larry Pittman, a Christian minister, has not publically commented on the bill.
The second sponsor of the bill, Representative Michael Speciale initially denied that the bill would ban same-sex marriage.
But he later said that legislators should “do something about it”, referring back to the 2012 same-sex marriage ban.
“This bill is absurd, unconstitutional and further proof that some North Carolina legislators remain committed to discriminating against LGBT people and their families,” The state branch of the ACLU’s policy director Sarah Gillooly said in a statement.
“North Carolina lawmakers cannot defy the U.S. Supreme Court based on their extreme personal views.”
The state has only just appeased the NBA and the NCAA, which had refused to hold athletics events and the prestigious All Star game in North Carolina while its anti-trans HB2 bathroom bill remained in place.
Announced by Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper as a “compromise,” HB142 outraged LGBT leaders.
Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro said it was a “fake repeal,” while Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the law a “disaster” which “doubles down on discrimination”.
But despite the backlash, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which makes about $1 billion a year in revenue, said its board of governors had “reluctantly” overturned its prohibition.
Bids from the state to hold the NCAA Championship will now be considered again, and the championships previously awarded to North Carolina for next season will take place.
Even though HB142 allows for discrimination to legally exist, the NCAA said it had “minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”
The organisation admitted that “this new la is far from perfect,” adding that it was still worried about the state of LGBT rights in North Carolina.
It said that “the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behaviour is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”
The NCAA also attempted to soften the blow to LGBT activists by warning that any state awarded an event in future will have to show “how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.”
The organisation had pulled seven events from the state over the past year while HB2 was in place, joining many companies, music stars and sports organisations in boycotting North Carolina.
Earlier today, major city mayors reiterated travel bans to North Carolina.
And last week, the last Kennedy in Congress, Representative Joseph Kennedy III, urged the NCAA to maintain its position on banning North Carolina.
LGBT leaders were predictably angered by the NCAA’s decision.
Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said: “NCAA caves & gives in to discrimination. We will all suffer because of this and Roy Cooper this is on you”.
He added that the decision made it clear that “Trans people are expendable, disposable, our bodies situated as threats”.
“At the end of the day, we should have known better than to rely on corporate interests who would quickly sell us out,” he added.
Equality NC head Sgro tweeted: “Disappointed that NCAA abandons LGBT community + succumbs to NC Governor cheap political stunt that doubled down on discrimination”.