These States Want to Define Same-Gender Marriages as ‘Parody Unions’

Lawmakers in Wyoming and South Carolina have introduced legislation to supposedly restore the sanctity of marriage and relegate same-gender partnerships to “parody unions.”

Filed on February 15 in the Wyoming House by Representative Lars Lone and co-sponsored by State Representative Roy Edwards, the so-called “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act” aims at:

prohibiting any state action that treats sexual orientation as a suspect class; prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from granting, endorsing, respecting or recognizing any marriage not between a man and woman; providing legislative findings; and providing for an effective date.

If this wasn’t bad enough, the bill makes some bold and illogical claims about same-gender marriage. The legislation argues that marriage between a man and a woman is secular in nature, but marriage between people of the same gender is non-secular. The authors advance the idea that because secularism is a religion — which, by definition, it is not – marriage equality violates the federal and state governments’ pledge not to elevate any single religion over another.

The bill then makes some horrendous and broadly illogical claims based — ironically — on religious ideas about natural law:

(iv)  Marriage between a man and a woman arose out of the nature of things and is natural, neutral and noncontroversial unlike parody marriages;

[...]

(viii)  All forms of parody marriage and all nonheterosexualsexual orientations or self asserted sex based identify narratives that fail to check out with the human design are part of the religion of secular humanism;

That would ban same-gender marriage, block anti-discrimination laws that include LGBT people, prevent LGBT people being treated as a suspect class and specifically disenfranchise trans people from any and all recognition. In other words, the bill is an excellent example of legislative overreach.

There are many troubling aspects of this bill, including the idea that sexual orientation is a matter of faith. LGBT rights cannot rest on whether or not sexual orientation is something we can control, but that self-determination is a principle embedded in the Constitution. As sociologists have argued, the standard of immutability was not applied for interracial marriage precisely because it is a grossly unconstitutional benchmark.

The other legislation, filed in South Carolina by six Republican legislators on February 15, appears to have exactly the same intent and virtually the same wording as the Wyoming bill. And that suggests a coordinated exercise in establishing a new legal argument: that LGBT identity is a faith-based proposition and that LGBT identity and secular humanism are intimately tied.

These efforts show a deep ignorance of LGBT people’s long history of faith leadership and respect among various religious traditions, including among Native Americans. It’s also blatantly wrong to say that secular humanism is a religion. While the writers of this legislation may think this is a clever argument, it fails even the most basic test: the absence of religion in civil life is not a religion, in the same way that atheism as a school of thought literally translates to an absence of theism.

Furthermore, this bill seeks to establish that sexual orientation is a ”self-asserted sex-based identity narrative that is based on a series of naked assertions and unproven faith-based assumptions that are implicitly religious.”

This word salad is wrong on multiple fronts. While there should be no need to prove immutability, a wealth of evidence exists that demonstrates concrete biological indicators of non-heterosexual sexual orientation, including but not limited to genetic differences, brain chemistry differences and hormone profile differences. The evidence is there, but the very act of requiring this justification shows how deeply prejudiced these bills are.

Marriage equality is a matter of basic constitutional freedom. This repackaging of some stale arguments, combined with the ridiculous “secular principles are religious government overreach” perspective is simply an attempt to advance one basic, tragic point: that religious conservatives cannot abide LGBT people having equal rights.

That approach is by definition un-American, and the legislation should be rejected with impunity by both the political left and right.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

54 comments

Ellie M
Ellie M2 months ago

Noted

SEND
Colin C
Colin C3 months ago

Religions will just not give up on this issue.

SEND
Karen H
Karen H3 months ago

I agree with Marianne (who deserves a heaven full of stars) - I don't think the Religious Right even reads their bibles. Once again, Lenore K, I remind you that Romans was written by the false apostle Paul. Bob Stuart, have you read the many, many news stories about heterosexual parents who beat, starve and murder their children? If that makes them better parents than same-sex couples, we're in big trouble. Jesus condemned adultery, and God's Top Ten says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery", yet I don't hear the Religious Right condemning Trump for his three marriages and numerous adulterous affairs or admitting sexual assault. They ignore GOP politicians who have paid for their wives and mistresses to have abortions. Hypocrisy runs high in American "Christianity". Or I should say Paulianity, because they certainly don't follow Christ's teaching.

SEND
Alanna R
Alanna R3 months ago

This is infuriating. Thank you for bringing attention to this.

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda M3 months ago

Anybody got some hip waders? I tell you, the manure is getting deeper every day! How many times do I have to say this, people? Marriage is first and foremost a LEGAL contract, regardless of whether the couple is male & female/same-sex. A religious ceremony (if any), is STRICTLY OPTIONAL! And furthermore, one's sexuality is something they're BORN with, and that's not "faith"-that is SCIENTIFIC FACT! UGH. And Karen Swenson, you hit it on the head-Twitler's serial marriages and constant catting on his wives DURING their marriages to him is what makes marriage a sham, not the sexuality of the couple involved. How thick can the Rethuglican Religious Reich get?

SEND
Marija M
Marija M3 months ago

tks for sharing

SEND
Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

What a bunch of bullsh*t!

SEND
Winn A
Winnie Adams4 months ago

The people proposing this legislation are vile, disgusting and despicable.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

SEND