Liberal groups have voiced their outrage over legislation introduced by Republican members of the South Carolina legislature.
The bill, proposed last week by state Reps. Steven Long, William Chumley, Mike Burns, John McCravy, Josiah Magnuson and Rick Martin, would define same-sex marriage as a “parody marriage,” according to WJZY.
The “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act” says that marriage can only be “a union of one man and one woman,” and that all other types of marriage “fail to check out the human design.” Thus, under the law, same-sex marriages would not be considered valid.
But pro-LGBT advocacy groups have lambasted the legislation, claiming that it promotes discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.
“Pure prejudice is what that is. Pure outright prejudice,” Jeff March, the president of SC Pride, told WACH. “It’s written with hate. I can’t imagine there are state officials that put this in writing.”
Shaundra Young Scott, who serves executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed similar sentiments, calling the bill an “absurd insult” to the LGBT community.
“This bill is an absurd insult to the gay and lesbian families of South Carolina, and their children. Marriage equality is settled law, affirmed in 2015 by the United States Supreme Court,” Scott told Newsweek.
“The authors use a ridiculous legal argument in a blatant attempt to roll back the rights of LGBTQ citizens. The real parody here is not marriages of same-sex couples, but the introduction of the ‘Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act’ as any kind of governing. This should die in committee, and we call on members of the South Carolina House to ensure that this bill never becomes law.”
But Long, one of the bill’s sponsors, disagrees. He argues same-sex marriages have created what WCNCcalled a “legal mess” — a mess he thinks this bill will put an end to.
“We have situations where people are losing businesses and losing jobs,” Long said. “All because they have a different standard of beliefs.”
Long believes the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized homosexual marriage on the federal level violates Americans’ First Amendment rights and forces people to accept LGBT marriages, even if they don’t want to.
“We can’t promote any kind of religious beliefs or non-religion policy,” Long said. “When somebody tries to force their beliefs on others and force the state to support those practices that’s a violation of the First Amendment.”
However, that’s not how March sees the issue. Instead, he claims that the bill’s very wording is offensive.
“The word parody is very comical in its definition, an imitation of the style of a particular writer or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effort. They want to call our marriage that we fought so hard for — marriage equality — they want to call our marriage now, a ‘parody marriage.’ That insults me on the deepest level,” he said.
Long, meanwhile, indicated that he doesn’t see the bill’s use of the word “parody” as hurtful “because what we are saying is that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
The legislation has been submitted to the state house’s judiciary committee for review.