Those are the main arguments in House Bill 780, which concludes that marriages between people of the same gender — whether they were married in North Carolina or not — are not valid in the state.
The bill, filed late on April 11 by primary sponsors Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Concord, Rep. Michael Speciale, R-New Bern, and Rep. Carl Ford, R-China Grove, is the latest effort by N.C. legislators to codify discrimination in a state only just now hoping to recover from the economic boycotts and sullied reputation stemming from the recently “repealed” HB 2 transgender bathroom bill.
While the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution does say that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergfell vs. Hodges is clear in stating that right of same-sex couples to marry is ensured nationwide by the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
But that ruling, say authors of the bill, “exceeds the authority of the court relative to the decree of Almighty God” laid out in the cited passage from Genesis.
Titled as the “Uphold Historical Marriage Act,” HB 780 seeks to enforce Section 6 of Article XIV of the Constitution of North Carolina, which was amended to say that “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State” after a 2012 vote featuring 35 percent turnout was approved by voters.
Although the so-called “Amendment 1” was ruled unconstitutional in 2014, it remains in N.C.’s Constitution, despite the fact that the Supremacy Clause embedded in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states that federal law trumps conflicting state law.
Questions posed to Western North Carolina’s legislative delegation weren’t immediately answered, possibly due to the bill’s being filed near the end of the day yesterday.
When contacted this morning, Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, said she hadn’t yet had a chance to look at the bill and thus declined to comment; Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, could not be reached by phone.
Reports from several media outlets including the News & Observer list Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, as a co-sponsor, however, he’s not listed as such on the bill. Clampitt was unavailable for immediate comment.
Even if passed, the bill would likely never wield the force of law; the Supremacy Clause embedded in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states that federal laws created pursuant to the Constitution are “the supreme law of the land.”