Utah Republicans Draft Bill To Get Rid Of All Marriages To Prevent Gay Marriage

How important is making sure same-sex couples don’t get married in Utah? Republicans are willing to burn the entire marriage business to the ground to stop it. Lawmakers are now working on a bill that does just that.

According to Utah’s local Fox-affiliate, a bill is being drafted that will “end government agencies’ involvement in issuing marriage licenses.” Having the government involved in issuing marriage licenses is crucial because it is how couples are recognized under the law as being in a bona fide marriage contract with one another. Ironically, it’s for this very reason that preventing gay couples from getting married was so discriminatory in the first place. Anyone can hold a religious ceremony that recognizes love, but to get health benefits, tax credits, hospital permissions, adoption recognition, and full-protections under the law, you need to get legally married. If the bill were to pass, no Utahan not already married will be able to do so in the future and legal marriage will be an impossibility in the state.

According to FOX13:

Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said it is not his bill but he was aware of it and supported the concept, but acknowledged actually passing such legislation “would be a monumental task.” There are dozens of laws including probate, inheritance and other benefits tied to marriage.

“I’d like to see us out of the marriage business and out of liquor distribution business,” he said.

Anti-gay Republicans are banking on these sorts of harebrained schemes to continue preventing gay people from getting married, despite the landmark Supreme Court decision that found same-sex couples must be afforded equal rights to marriage under the 14th Amendment.

Conservatives hope that states can sidestep their legal obligation to treat everyone equally by treating nobody at all. Instead, Utah (and other states) are exploring the idea of putting marriage completely and totally into the hands of churches. In Michigan, for instance, conservative lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would require all marriages be “ordained” by the clergy. And if an atheist couple or a gay couple wants to get married but they can’t find a religious leader willing to “ordain” them, then they are out of luck – the clergy are protected from being forced to perform ceremonies that go against their “firmly held religious beliefs.”

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Welcome to the American theocracy. Gay people have only been allowed to marry for a few days and Republicans are already showing a willingness to dismantle the Constitution and the checks-and-balances it provides to stop it.

It seems highly unlikely that any of this is even remotely legal. It does, however, demonstrate the lengths to which some Republicans will go to continue denying gay couples the right to marry. After the highest court in the country decided all Americans must have that right, one might safely assume that the issue was settled. Not so, unfortunately. Instead, we have an entire political party grasping at straws in an increasingly desperate fashion – and it’s painful to watch.

Feature image via The Burning Blogger of Bedlam