SC Legislators Seek to Redefine Marriage

Six South Carolina legislators are attempting to change the legal status of same-sex marriage in South Carolina.

The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, if enacted into law, would define any marriage not between one man and one woman as a ‘parody marriage’ and prevent such marriages from being legally recognized by the state. The proposed bill argues that marriage between one man and one woman is secular and “natural, neutral and noncontroversial, unlike parody forms of marriage”. Same-sex marriages are defined as religious due to sexual orientation being a “matter of faith”. As South Carolina is prohibited by the First Amendment from favoring any one religion, the bill’s authors claim that any legal recognition of same-sex marriage or distribution of information about same-sex marriage in public schools is unconstitutional.

The bill fails to recognize that marriage is a cultural institution, not a natural occurrence. Various cultures have different definitions of marriage and different practices associated with it, so to allege that heterosexual and monogamous marriage is the natural default is incorrect. Same-sex married couples can be found in any religion or culture, so to define same-sex marriage as a separate religion is also wrong.

The authors go beyond attacking same-sex marriages to discrediting all non-heterosexual identities. Sexual orientation is explicitly defined as “a self-asserted sex-based identity” based on “unproven faith-based assumptions”. Essentially, the bill would put into law the definition of sexual orientation as a choice unsupported by science and “obscene”. The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act not only endangers the legal status of same-sex marriages, but the legal status of anyone who identifies as LGBT+.

Such a bill promotes misconceptions about sexual orientation and would lead to further discrimination against the LGBT+ community. The bill authors argue that South Carolina recognizing same-sex marriage has led to increased persecution of non-observers. These six legislators clearly don’t understand what persecution is. Persecution is 30% of openly LGBT people experiencing discrimination in the workplace. Persecution is 61% of LGBT+ students who have been victimized at school not reporting the incident to school staff out of fear. Persecution is being deemed a parody of normal people.

The representatives sponsoring the bill are Steven Wayne Long, William M. “Bill” Chumley, James Mikell “Mike” Burns, John R. McCravy, III, Josiah Magnuson and  Richard “Rick” Martin.

To take action, find and contact your representative at the South Carolina State House’s website.