State Lawmakers Try to Undermine Movement toward Acceptance of Same-Sex Marriage

Nationwide Legislative Backlash Seeks to Limit Gay Marriage

Legislators across the country have been frantically pushing new legislation, seeking to impose a variety of different laws to make it more difficult for persons of the same gender to legally marry.

  • In Oklahoma, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that requires marriages to be conducted by a judge, retired judge or licensed clergyperson, taking county clerks out of the marriage business. The move may have had the opposite effect of its intent, though, as it has led many in the state to obtain clergy licenses in order to perform gay marriages.
  • North Carolina legislators are working on a bill that would allow government officials to “opt out” of performing any marriage ceremony if they have a “sincerely held religious objection.”

Oklahoma and North Carolina are not the only states where legislators are seeking to limit the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual persons. In the first three months of this year, 85 proposed laws have been introduced in the legislatures of 26 states, all seeking to limit or restrict same-sex marriage. A proposed statute in South Carolina would withhold the salaries of state officials who perform gay marriages. In Louisiana, a bill introduced last week would allow businesses to refuse service for same-sex weddings and deny benefits to employees in same-sex marriages.

Experts say that the bulk of these laws will likely not pass, or, if they do, will be found unconstitutional. Nonetheless, no one expects that legislative efforts to restrict gay marriage will end anytime soon.

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