By Shirin Faqiri | CNN

Tennessee Republican Governor Invoice Lee signed a invoice Wednesday that enables individuals within the state to refuse to “solemnize,” or carry out, a wedding in the event that they disagree with it.

Final week, Tennessee state lawmakers handed HB 878, which states “an individual shall not be required to solemnize a wedding.”

In Tennessee, solely sure individuals can “solemnize” the “ceremony of matrimony,” together with state notary publics, authorities officers, and spiritual figures, in keeping with state code.

Based on Tennessee Code Title 36, which units out the state’s guidelines on marriages and license necessities, “earlier than being joined in marriage, the events shall current to the minister or officer a license underneath the hand of a county clerk on this state, directed to such minister or officer, authorizing the solemnization of a wedding between the events.”

HB 878 has drawn criticism since it was proposed final 12 months.

Camilla Taylor, deputy authorized director for litigation for Lambda Authorized, an LGBTQ authorized advocacy group, stated that the regulation is an effort to “roll again latest progress by the LGBTQ neighborhood.”

“Tennessee Home Invoice 878 can be patently unconstitutional,” Taylor stated in an announcement to CNN. “Public officers don’t get to imagine public workplace after which decide and select which members of the general public to serve.”

Final February, GOP state Rep. Monty Fritts, who sponsored the invoice within the Home, informed the state Subcommittee on Youngsters and Household Affairs that the regulation would permit an officiant to refuse to solemnize a wedding for “causes of conscience or different spiritual beliefs.”

“As societal views change about what constitutes a wedding, officiants should be capable of refuse to solemnize marriages which might be opposite to their beliefs,” Fritts stated in the course of the assembly. “The federal government has a accountability to guard the train of spiritual beliefs. … These with the authority to carry out civil ceremonies would even be permitted to refuse to solemnize marriage for causes of conscience.”

CNN reached out to Fritts for remark, however he declined a telephone interview.

Earlier this month, Tennessee GOP state Sen. Mark Pody informed lawmakers the invoice “has nothing to do with getting a license, it has nothing to do with the clerk’s required to provide a license.”

However Taylor stated the invoice may doubtlessly have far-reaching results past same-sex {couples} and will additionally affect interracial and interfaith {couples}.

“My reply stays the identical no matter whether or not this invoice was supposed to focus on marriages of same-sex {couples}, interfaith {couples}, or interracial {couples} — it’s unconstitutional as a result of the Structure prohibits public officers from discriminating in opposition to members of the general public based mostly on their private beliefs,” Taylor stated.

“Authorities officers can’t goal individuals based mostly on who they’re and require them to make use of a special course of to acquire marriage licenses relative to everybody else. The impact of forcing same-sex {couples} to undergo a special course of relative to everybody else—whether or not by demanding that they use a special door, or that they watch for a special public official to difficulty them a license— can be to stigmatize them and talk that their authorities thinks their marriages are much less worthy than everybody else’s.”


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