North Carolina bill seeks to make same-sex marriage illegal

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have proposed a bill that would make same-sex marriage illegal. The purpose of bill HB780, or the 'Uphold Historical Marriage Act', is to change the state's constitution and declare that "Marriages between persons of the same gender not valid." The bill is sponsored by Republican lawmakers Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale and Carl Ford. Marriage equality came to all 50 US states in June 2015 after a supreme court ruling the Obergefell v. Hodges case. The Court determined that the U.S. Constitution does require states to allow same-sex marriages, striking down existing bans in the 14 states that had yet to embrace marriage equality. This new bill seeks to reverse that decision in North Carolina. "The General Assembly of the State of North Carolina declares that the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of the United States Supreme Court of 2015 is null and void in the State of North Carolina," the text of the bill states. "Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina." The text of the bill quotes a bible verse in an attempt to justify the reversal of the supreme court decision:  “the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become 22 one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, ESV)'” Ames Simmons, director of Transgender Police with Equality North Carolina said that there is "no way in modern society that a law (like) this would pass. “Ideally the people who make laws would be helping to make the situation around discrimination better instead of perpetuating it,” added Simmons. Even if the bill were to pass, it would be unenforceable as supreme court decisions hold supremacy over state laws in the US. “If this bill were to become law it would be declared unconstitutional,” said Greg Wallace, a law professor at Campbell University Wallace added that people were free to disagree with the supreme court's decision, but that state laws "cannot overrule the supreme court’s interpretation of the federal constitution." Last month marked the one-year anniversary of North Carolina’s HB2 being signed into law. The bill, which bars transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, has been proven controversial, with several celebrities and businesses boycotting the state. Research by economists in North Carolina has previously shown that its anti-LGBT legislation has the state $560m (£461m). More stories: Trans student in North Carolina voted prom queen US Judge rules that University of North Carolina can’t use HB2 to block trans bathroom access