B:y Mya Olson – Williams
In early March, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a new bill that allows a person to refuse to conduct a marriage based on their religious and personal beliefs. This bill was presented by Representative Monty Fritts (R – Kingston).
Many believe that this law will make things easier for officiants to discriminate against same-sex, interracial, LGBTQ+, and interfaith (people of different religions) couples.
According to theamm.org, these are the exact words written in House Bill 878:
“(m) A person shall not be required to solemnize a marriage if the person has an objection to solemnizing the marriage based on the person’s conscience or religious beliefs.”
There was already a law in place seeming pretty similar, but this one lets people refuse on any grounds.
Tennessee is not stopping here. They are moving to block online ordained ministers from conducting weddings. If that becomes the case, it would make it almost impossible for any interracial, same-sex, LGBTQ+, or interfaith couples to get married in the state of Tennessee.
Monty Fritts denied the fact that this bill would only allow refusal of solemnizing same-sex marriages. He believes that there’s a drive to attack “civil liberties and rights”.
There are other states going through very similar things as well. Currently there are laws in place in the states of Kansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, and there could be more coming in the near future.
Unfortunately, the Respect for Marriage Act, put in place in December of 2022, does not protect anyone in those few states. Same-sex couples (married or not) can still live in these places, but they can no longer get married there.
It’s commonly said that we are going backwards in time. There’s so much wrong with these laws, and many are convinced that this inequality will not stop here, but only get worse.