North Carolina's first same-sex marriage takes place in Raleigh
A bill filed Tuesday by four N.C. House Republicans would direct state government to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and restore the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The bill won’t be getting a hearing in the House and is effectively dead, House Speaker Tim Moore said Wednesday. Moore, a Republican, cited “strong constitutional concerns.”
House Bill 780 is titled “Uphold Historical Marriage Act,” and is sponsored by some of the House’s most conservative legislators. They frequently file bills that don’t get a hearing because House GOP leaders don’t support the proposals.
The bill says that the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country “is null and void in the State of North Carolina.” The sponsors argue in the bill language that it’s “clear that laws concerning marriage are for each state to establish and maintain severally and independently.”
The bill quotes the Christian Bible and says the 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.”
The bill would order state government to return to the constitutional amendment known as Amendment One, which was approved in a 2012 voter referendum. It also says that same-sex marriages performed in other states wouldn’t be recognized in North Carolina.
Efforts in other states to defy the Supreme Court ruling failed. In the months after the ruling, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered state judges there not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Moore’s decision was overturned, and he was removed from office.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, blasted the bill on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “This bill is wrong,” he tweeted. “We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”
The bill’s sponsors are Republican Reps. Larry Pittman of Concord, Michael Speciale of New Bern, Carl Ford of Rowan County and Mike Clampitt of Bryson City.
Wake County Commissioner John Burns also criticized the bill on Twitter. “Pittman and Speciale are embarrassments to the State of North Carolina and should be shunned from public life,” he tweeted.