State Politics

SC’s parody marriage bill loses one of its sponsors

What 'Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act' could mean for SC’s LGBT rights

Republican lawmakers in South Carolina introduced a bill on Feb. 15, 2018 dubbed "The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act" in order to identify same-sex marriage as "parody marriage."
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Republican lawmakers in South Carolina introduced a bill on Feb. 15, 2018 dubbed "The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act" in order to identify same-sex marriage as "parody marriage."

The day after Valentine’s Day, six South Carolina legislators introduced “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act,” also known as the Parody Marriage bill, to the House that would amend the definition of what constitutes marriage in the Palmetto State.

Since then, one of the S.C. Representatives whose name was at the top of the potential legislation has asked to be removed as a sponsor.

Rep. Rick Martin removed himself from the list of sponsors on Feb. 22 on the controversial bill that has drawn criticism from the LGTB community. There was nothing on the Newberry Republican’s website saying why Martin is no longer a sponsor for the bill.

The State House representatives who are still sponsoring the bill, all Republicans, include:

▪ Steven Wayne Long, Spartanburg District 37

▪ William M. “Bill” Chumley, Spartanburg District 35

▪ James Mikell “Mike” Burns, Greenville District 17

▪ John R. McCravy, III, Greenwood District 13

▪ Josiah Magnuson, Spartanburg District 38

The “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act” was introduced Feb. 15 and would draw a line between what its sponsors deem is “marriage” and what is considered “parody marriage.”

According to the bill, “parody marriage means any form of marriage that does not involve one man and one woman. Marriage means a union of one man and one woman.”

By that definition, any LGBT marriage would be a “parody marriage.”

Jeff Ayers, executive director of SC Equality, the state’s largest LGBT rights organization, condemned the bill and called on legislators to take a stand by calling this bill what it is, a bigoted and narrow-minded attempt to legalize discrimination.

“This is nothing more than an attempt by a first-term representative to pander to his far-right base in an election year,” said Ayers. “Bills like this are hateful, discriminatory and only make it more difficult to recruit new business to South Carolina. The LGBT community and our allies will not stand silently as Representative Long and the Keystone Cop Caucus paints a picture of South Carolina that is full of discrimination and bigotry. This issue has been settled by the United States Supreme Court.”

The bill would “prohibit the state from respecting, endorsing, or recognizing any parody marriage policy or policies that treat sexual orientation as a suspect class; and for other purposes,” according to its summary on scstatehouse.gov.

Essentially, the bill would make it so South Carolina would not legally recognize any marriage not between one man and one woman.

The bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary on Feb. 15.

“If this bill were to pass, our lawyers are standing by to challenge it in the courts and the state will lose,” Ayers said.

MARRIAGE AND CONSTITUTION RESTORATION ACT

Sponsors: Reps. Long, Chumley, Burns, McCravy and Magnuson

Introduced in the House on February 15, 2018

Currently residing in the House Committee on Judiciary

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 20-1-110 SO AS TO ENACT THE “MARRIAGE AND CONSTITUTION RESTORATION ACT”; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS, INCLUDING “PARODY MARRIAGE” AND “MARRIAGE”; TO PROVIDE THAT PARODY MARRIAGE POLICIES ARE NONSECULAR IN NATURE; TO PROHIBIT THE STATE FROM RESPECTING, ENDORSING, OR RECOGNIZING ANY PARODY MARRIAGE POLICY OR POLICIES THAT TREAT SEXUAL ORIENTATION AS A SUSPECT CLASS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Whereas, parody marriages and parody marriage policies are nonsecular for the purposes of the Establishment Clause; and

Whereas, marriages between a man and a woman and policies that endorse marriage between a man and a woman are secular in nature for purposes of the Establishment Clause; and

Whereas, civilizations for millennia have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman; and

Whereas, marriage between and man and a woman arose out of the nature of things and marriage between a man and a woman is natural, neutral, and noncontroversial, unlike parody forms of marriage; and

Whereas, the State of South Carolina has a duty under Article VI of the United States Constitution to uphold the United States Constitution; and

Whereas, the First Amendment applies to the State of South Carolina through the Fourteenth Amendment; and

Whereas, the First Amendment, not the Fourteenth Amendment, has exclusive jurisdiction over which types of marriages the State can endorse, respect, and recognize; and

Whereas, all forms of parody marriage and all self-asserted sex-based identity narratives and sexual orientations that fail to check out the human design are part of the religion of Secular Humanism; and

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has found that Secular Humanism is a religion for the purpose of the Establishment Clause in Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), and Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987); and

Whereas, the State of South Carolina is prohibited from favoring or endorsing religion over nonreligion; and

Whereas, the State of South Carolina’s decision to respect, endorse, and recognize parody marriages and sexual orientation policies has excessively entangled the government with the religion of Secular Humanism, failed to accomplish its intended purpose, and created an indefensible legal weapon against nonobservers; and

Whereas, in the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015), there has not been a land rush on gay marriage, but there has been a land rush on the persecution of nonobservers by Secular Humanists and an effort by Secular Humanists to infiltrate and indoctrinate minors in public schools to their religious world view which is questionably moral, plausible, obscene, and is not secular; and

Whereas, it is unsettled whether or not sexual orientation is immutable or genetic and is therefore a matter of faith; and

Whereas, parody marriages have never been a part of American tradition and heritage; and

Whereas, parody marriage policies and sexual orientation statutes are nonsecular and policies that respect, endorse, and recognize a marriage between a man and a woman are secular, accomplishing its intended objective. Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. This act may be known and cited as the “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act”.

SECTION 2. Article 1, Chapter 1, Title 20 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 20-1-110. (A) For purposes of this section,

(1) ‘Parody marriage’ means any form of marriage that does not involve one man and one woman.

(2) ‘Nonsecular policy’ means state action which endorses, respects, and recognizes the beliefs of a particular religion where the preeminent and primary force driving the state’s action is not genuine, but a sham that ultimately has a primary religious objective.

(3) ‘Secular policy’ means state action that is natural, neutral, noncontroversial and that is based on self-evident truth. Secular policy accomplishes its goals and purposes. State action where the preeminent and primary force driving the policy is genuine, not a sham, and not merely secondary to a religious objective.

(4) ‘Sexual orientation’ means 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.

(5) ‘Marriage’ means a union of one man and one woman.

(B)(1) In view of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Expression Clause of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895:

(a) any person living in South Carolina can cultivate any self-asserted sex-based identity narrative or self-asserted sexual orientation at will, even if it does not check out with the human design as a matter of self-evident observation.

(b) any person can conduct any form of marriage ceremony and other rituals that accords with their self-asserted sexual orientation and live as married persons do, as long as the ceremonies do not conflict with other parts of the South Carolina Code and federal law.

(2) In view of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895:

(a) the State of South Carolina shall no longer respect, endorse, or recognize any form of parody marriage policy because parody marriage policies are nonsecular.

(b) the State of South Carolina shall no longer enforce, recognize, or respect any policy that treats sexual orientation as a suspect class because all such statutes lack a secular purpose.

(C) The State of South Carolina will continue to enforce, endorse, and recognize marriages between a man and a woman because such marriage policies are secular, accomplishing nonreligious objectives.”

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

SOURCE: South Carolina General Assembly, 122nd Session, 2017-2018

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