North Carolina bill looks to ban gay marriage

General Assembly (CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill filed by three Republican lawmakers looks to ban gay marriage in North Carolina.

The “Uphold Historical Marriage Act” says the U.S. Supreme Court over stepped its “constitutional bounds” when in 2015 it struck down what was known as Amendment One.

In May 2012, more than 60 percent of those who cast a ballot voted in favor of Amendment One, that prohibited North Carolina from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages or civil unions.

Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort) and Rep. Carl Ford (R-Cabarrus) are the primary sponsors of House Bill 780.

The bill says the Supreme Court not only overstepped their power in North Carolina but also overstepped the “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)’”

HB780 would make the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage void in North Carolina. The bill states marriages between persons of the same gender would not be valid, whether conducted inside or outside of the state.

One of the sponsors of the bill, Michael Speciale said he is only looking to return North Carolina state law to what it was before the U.S. Supreme Court got involved.

“Ideally the people who make laws would be helping to make the situation around discrimination better instead of perpetuating it,” said Ames Simmons.

Ames Simmons is the director of Transgender Police with Equality North Carolina.

He says he thinks the bill is only meant to be symbolic.

“There’s no way in modern society that a law (like) this would pass,” said Simmons.

“While people legitimately can disagree with the supreme court’s gay marriage decision a state legislature cannot overrule the supreme court’s interpretation of the federal constitution, ”said Greg Wallace, a professor of law at Campbell University.

He says any time federal law and state law conflict – federal law wins.

“If this bill were to become law it would be declared unconstitutional,” he said.

Several groups responded to the bill on Tuesday including Governor Roy Cooper who said: “ The bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”

CBS North Carolina reached out to each sponsor of the bill for comment and heard nothing.

As well as the GOP and North Carolina Values Commission for comment but no one could provide one.