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Tags: tennessee | bill lee | officials | gay weddings

Tenn. Gov. Signs Bill Refusing Gay Weddings

By    |   Wednesday, 21 February 2024 10:48 PM EST

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, signed a measure on Wednesday allowing public officials to decline conducting same-sex marriages, reported The Hill.

The Tennessee Legislature last week passed Tennessee House Bill 878, which permits individuals to abstain from officiating a marriage if it conflicts with their "conscience or religious beliefs." The governor endorsed the bill, according to the Tennessee Legislature website.

The bill does not empower officials to deny marriage licenses based on their convictions but exempts them from the obligation to solemnize a marriage.

Initially approved by the State House in March 2023, the General Assembly rescheduled its consideration for 2024.

Lee refrained from public remarks regarding the legislation, according to his social media and official website.

Last year, Lee stirred controversy by enacting a law that restricted drag performances, marking the nation's first such limitation, and banned gender-transition healthcare for transgender minors, The Tenneseean reported. A federal judge subsequently rejected the drag show restrictions.

Criticism of the bill has emerged from LGBTQ advocacy groups. Molly Whitehorn, associate director of regional campaigns at the Human Rights Campaign, asserted last week that the bill aimed to "exclude LGBTQ+ folks from equal protection under the law," The Hill reported.

Tennessee Republicans countered that the measure was not intended to discriminate against same-sex couples or impede their marital rights. State Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, the primary sponsor of the bill in the Senate, contended on the Senate floor last week that the bill "has nothing to do with getting a license."

According to World Population Review, as of 2024, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Alabama and Missouri have enacted legalization with certain restrictions. Thirteen states maintain bans on same-sex marriage; however, eight of these states have court decisions favoring its recognition.

In the 2020 election, Nevada made history by becoming the first state to codify the recognition of gay marriage within its state constitution.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, signed a measure on Wednesday allowing public officials to decline conducting same-sex marriages, reported The Hill.
tennessee, bill lee, officials, gay weddings
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2024-48-21
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 10:48 PM
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