News (USA)

After 2 years of marriage equality Republicans are still trying to destroy it

Carlos McKnight of Washington, waves a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015.
Carlos McKnight of Washington, waves a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Today is the two year anniversary of marriage equality becoming the law of the land in the United States, with the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.

While it was a day of celebration for the LGBTQ community, and all those who value the advancement of civil rights in this country, it was an outrage to many conservatives. And for all their talk of snowflakes, they are notably not taking the loss well.

While both President Donald Trump and Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch have called the matter “settled law,” the situation is, unfortunately, more complicated.

Related: Jim Obergefell doesn’t believe Trump when he says gay marriage law is ‘settled’

Republicans have been seeking ways to dismantle marriage equality since day one, and their most dangerous plan yet could just be around the bend.

The States

In April, four Republican lawmakers in North Carolina introduced House Bill 780, titled the “Uphold Historical Marriages Act,” that would have made the 2015 Supreme Court ruling “null and void in the State of North Carolina.”

The state is also in the middle of a legal fight, attempting to uphold SB2, a law allowing magistrates to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In Arkansas, lawmakers attempted to petition Congress to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The bill, Senate Joint Resolution 7, died in the House.

In Mississippi, HB 1523 allows magistrates and judges to opt out of performing same-sex marriages, and allows businesses to deny wedding-related services to those couples. A federal court just lifted an injunction on that law, although lawyers have said it is likely to remain blocked while the appeals process goes forward.

Related: Supreme Court will decide if civil rights laws have broad religious exemptions

Tennessee introduced a bill, SB 752, in February, called the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,” saying the state will only recognize marriages between one man and one woman. It instructs state agencies to ignore the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Texas, never one to sit idly by when the inequality rush is on, also got in on the action, when a coalition of conservatives sued Houston over its decision to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees. In March, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, after initially refusing to hear it on appeal, which had allowed the benefits to continue.

Last year, Alabama’s Supreme Court dismissed a similar case.


Meanwhile, Republicans are trying another tactic to get their radical agenda through: Constitutional amendments.

Former senator Jim DeMint was just hired as senior adviser to the group the Convention of States, a boost to its efforts to take the momentum of the Tea Party movement to new heights.

While those efforts are seen by many as a long shot, as becomes clear when you read USA Today‘s description of the plan:

Under Article V of the Constitution, there are two avenues to propose amendments: Two-thirds of each house of Congress can vote to do so or two-thirds of the states – 34 in total – can request the convention.

In either case, three-fourths of the states – or 38 states – must ratify any amendment proposed by convention delegates.

That said, as they report, “proponents of a state-led conclave see growing momentum for their cause. Twelve states already have adopted the group’s call, and its leaders hope to add 10 to 15 next year.”

While today should be a day of celebration for our community, we must also remain vigilant.

Not only has the momentum for full LGBTQ equality come under serious threat thanks to the Trump administration, even a right we worked hard to achieve cannot go unguarded or be taken for granted. If we want to hold onto marriage equality, we must keep fighting.

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