On Tuesday, just before the filing deadline for bills for the North Carolina legislature’s regular session, state GOP legislators introduced a ridiculous anti-LGBTQ bill, HB 780, which would ban marriage for same-sex couples. Less than 24 hours later, House Speaker Tim Moore declared that the bill would not advance, effectively killing this misguided legislation.
The dead-end bill declared that not only did the United State Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges exceed its authority in regards to states’ rights, it also exceeded its authority “relative to the decree of Almighty God.”
Let’s be clear: even without the Speaker’s declaration, there was zero chance that HB 780 would become law. Marriage equality is the law of the land, and it would take more than a state bill to overturn it. But that doesn’t mean this legislation (and similar bills introduced in Arkansas and Tennessee) is harmless. Coming on the heels of the disappointing way the legislature dealt with HB 2, this legislation continues to perpetuate the idea that the LGBTQ rights are up for debate.
Moreover, legislation that relies on religion as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex couples also harms religious freedom. Religious freedom guarantees us the right to believe or not believe as we see fit, but it does not give anyone the right to use those beliefs to discriminate against others.
Although this bill was a non-starter, not all bills that seek to marginalize the LGBTQ community in the name of religion are. Check out our State Legislation Tracker and see how we’re fighting to protect our neighbors.