Will North Carolina GOP Invalidate Gay Marriage?

Republicans in North Carolina have introduced a bill that would restore the ban on gay marriage due to the Supreme Court overstepping its constitutional boundaries in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The bill declares that decision “null and void” in North Carolina and it affirms that the state will only recognize marriage when it’s between a man and a woman.

The bill is being called the Uphold Historical Marriage Act, and it’s being sponsored by North Carolina House members Larry Pittman, Carl Ford, and Michael Speciale, all of whom are Republicans.

It has been criticized by the state’s new Democrat governor, Roy Cooper, who said, “This bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”

But it’s not clear that it will pick up much support among the GOP, either. The state just extracted itself from the lawsuit-ridden, economy-damaging transgender bathroom debacle, and Republicans are probably not in a hurry to poke the LGBT hornets’ nest again.

Still, the Obergefell decision was ludicrous, and the text of the bill does a nice job explaining the problems with it. They use a 10th Amendment argument – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

They contend that since marriage law is not among the powers delegated to the U.S., and since the citizens of North Carolina voted to ban gay marriage in 2012, and since the Supreme Court exceeded their authority “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),” that gay marriage should therefore be illegal in the state of North Carolina once again.

Ok maybe the bill ran off the rails a little bit there at the end, but the constitutional argument is sound. At the core of all this, the fight isn’t about whether or not gay marriage should be legal in the U.S. The fight is about whether or not the U.S. federal government has the right to mandate its legality over the will of the states. You don’t have to give two whits about gay marriage to understand how crucial that point is.

But this is going to be another LGBT Mafia flashpoint, regardless of the underlying constitutional concerns. They’ve already painted North Carolina Republicans as mean old fundamentalists who want to spoil the party, and corporate America has already made it quite clear where it is aligned.

If Republicans in North Carolina ultimately decide to let another state challenge Obergefell, we couldn’t blame them.

 


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