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(52,053 posts)
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 01:04 PM Feb 2024

Tennessee Governor Rolls Back Marriage Equality in Just Once Sentence


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Tennessee has passed a law that, despite being just one sentence long, completely annihilates marriage equality in the state.

Republican Governor Bill Lee signed House Bill 878 into law on Wednesday. The measure simply states, “A person shall not be required to solemnize a marriage.”

This means that any government official can refuse to certify a marriage license for any reason whatsoever. Current Tennessee law states that before a marriage is legally recognized, the couple must have their marriage license solemnized by a “minister or officer.” Marriages can be solemnized by religious leaders or government officials including judges, notaries public, and elected officials.

The new law does not affect anyone’s ability to obtain a marriage license. Republican state Senator Mark Pody, who sponsored the measure in the state Senate, argued last month that the bill was not discriminatory because people can still get marriage licenses.

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(32,787 posts)
3. And in some states, pregnant women can't get divorced.
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 01:22 PM
Feb 2024

Please remind me what year this is again.


(24,629 posts)
4. So if I'm to understand it
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 01:23 PM
Feb 2024

People can still get a marriage license, however, in order for it to be legally recognized, it has to be solemnized by a "minister" or "officer" but the law does not require anybody to solemnize it? This would seem to run afoul of 2015's Obergerfell ruling (which of course they're hoping to overturn).


(11,264 posts)
11. I have no issue with clergy not being required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to their beliefs.
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 09:44 PM
Feb 2024

I am not convinced a government official can constitutionally refuse to solemnize a marriage on religious grounds consistent with Obergerell.


(24,629 posts)
14. I'm not either
Tue Feb 27, 2024, 10:17 AM
Feb 2024

Of course, I don't think that clergy has ever been forced to perform any kind of marriage ceremony for anybody.


(55,186 posts)
5. Whether they realize their goal or not
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 01:28 PM
Feb 2024

Republicans will not stop in their efforts to control people's lives, and force themselves into people’s privacy and thwart their happiness, if there is something in that happiness that they don’t like. They arrogant, mean, smug and unbelievably petty. How did a whole political party get this way? Just because “GOP” and “NSDAP” both end with a P, or what?


(37,938 posts)
6. If marriage is a religious institution, what religion is/are judges, notaries public, and elected officials practicing?
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 02:12 PM
Feb 2024

Fla Dem

(24,432 posts)
8. Marriage is a legal joining, which can involve a religious ceremony.
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 08:46 PM
Feb 2024

That's how I would understand it. It becomes legal when you get a marriage license, then an official (notary) asks if you accept one another as Husband/ Wife, or Partners and then signs a document making it legal. Of course you can have a much more elaborate religious ceremony.

What is considered a legal marriage in the US?
In 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, for federal purposes, defined marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife"


(37,938 posts)
9. Yep! That's my point. Make it a legal contract, unrelated to religion. The benefits can be just as legal.
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 09:01 PM
Feb 2024

There will probably have to be a compromise... don't call it 'marriage'.
Something like legal partner.

That should eliminate the worry over the definition of marriage laws.


(11,264 posts)
12. Marriage is a matter of contract.
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 09:52 PM
Feb 2024

Any religious component is layered on top of the contract.

Most states require that that a marriage be solemnized, either by clergy or a civil official. There is no requirement for a religious ceremony.


(2,900 posts)
10. Yeah, really awkward and ambiguous language
Mon Feb 26, 2024, 09:11 PM
Feb 2024

It seems to mean that some entity other than a "person" can solemnize a marriage. A computer, maybe? AI? Virtual minister?

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