ADDED ON: 04/10/2022

Republicans are coming after same-sex marriage – and won’t stop there

4/9/22 | The Guardian

An adult marrying another adult of the same sex? Outrageous; the Lord will smite thee. An adult marrying a child of the opposite sex, on the other hand? Totally fine with God, apparently. Such is the perverse logic of the always righteous Republicans, a number of whom recently sponsored legislation that would legalize common law marriage in Tennessee. While that sounds innocuous on the surface the legislation is a shameless attempt to undermine same-sex marriage, which has been legal across the US since 2015. The bill’s mastermind, the Tennessee state senator Janice Bowling, explained that the bill declares “that the marriage between a man and a woman is not a creation of the state government or its statutes, it is a common law right”. Bowling also noted that the bill provides “an alternative form of marriage for those pastors and other individuals who have a conscientious objection to the current pathway to marriage in our law”. These conscientious objectors were so busy being homophobic that they didn’t have any time to be concerned about minor things like child marriage, it seems. The original iteration of the bill essentially eliminated minimum age limits to get married and paved the way for child marriage. As another state senator, Raumesh Akbari from Memphis, told reporters: “It’s ugly enough Republicans are advancing an unconstitutional bill to undermine marriage equality, but the fact that this bill reopens the debate on child marriage is outrageous.” The Republicans backing the bill didn’t seem too bothered by the whole child marriage thing when it was first pointed out but, after international backlash, they inserted an amendment adding a minimum age requirement of 17. Very noble of them. I got gay-married in the US last year and was naive enough to think that I wouldn’t have to worry about the government nullifying my nuptials. I thought, stupidly, that we were beyond all that: there is very broad support for same-sex marriage across pretty much every age group in the US, after all. And, for the last few years, Republicans have largely laid off the subject. Now, however, Republicans have fully ripped their masks off and are making no secret of the fact they intend to make second-class citizens of anyone in the US who isn’t a rich cis white dude.

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