What better Valentine’s Day gift to North Carolina’s LGTBQ residents than the bill filed in the North Carolina House Wednesday asserting that gay marriage is a “parody” and a “religion” and therefore shouldn’t be recognized as valid.

Similar bills have been filed in Kansas and Tennessee. North Carolina’s House Bill 65, filed Wednesday by Republican state representatives Mark Brody, Keith Kidwell, and Confederate-loving Lincoln-hater Larry Pittman, attempts to “declare null and void” the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the right to wed in 2015.

The bill asserts that, while gay marriage is “inseparably part” of the religion of “Secular Humanism,” straight marriage is “the only model for marriage that simply follows the scientifically obvious biology of human beings.” Though opposition to gay marriage strongly correlates to conservative religious traditions, the bill’s backers claim that “marriage between a man and a woman arose out of the nature of the human species, and marriage between a man and a woman is natural, uncontrived, and noncontroversial, unlike forms of marriage that do not involve a man and a woman.”

Oh yes, it gets better: “Obergefell v. Hodges in effect has imposed the views of Secular Humanism on the People and the States of these United States in the matter of marriage law, which authority is not given to the federal government in the United States Constitution, and is, therefore, an unconstitutional establishment of religion and also an unconstitutional usurpation by the United States Supreme Court of powers reserved to the People or to the States.”

And better: “In the wake of the Obergefell opinion, there have been increased efforts by the proponents of Secular Humanism to persecute nonobservers of the religion of Secular Humanism and to infiltrate public schools with the intent to indoctrinate minors to the Secular Humanist worldview, against the wishes of many of their parents, and to inculcate them with the Secular Humanist view on faith, morality, sex, and marriage. … It is an unsettled matter of opinion whether sexual orientation is immutable or genetic, and therefore, for a person to suggest that he/she was born homosexual or the wrong gender or that to disagree with their beliefs makes the dissenter a bigot, is nothing more than a series of unproven faith-based assumptions and naked assertions that are implicitly religious and may not be enforced by government upon anyone.” 

Therefore: “Marriages between persons of the same gender not valid.”

Equality NC executive director Kendra R. Johnson calls the bill a waste of taxpayer resources.

“You don’t have to denigrate someone else’s marriage in order to validate your own,” she says. “[The bill] is just so preposterous it’s hard to even comprehend their argument.”

“It’s going right in the trash can,” says Representative Marcia Morey of Durham. “This will never get into committee.”

Indeed, even if the bill got approved by a committee and eventually cleared the legislature, it would almost certainly be vetoed by Governor Cooper, and Republicans lack the supermajorities to override that veto. And even if that weren’t the case, this argument would almost certainly get laughed out of court. 

“It’s just complete lunacy,” says Representative Allison Dahle, one of a few openly gay elected officials in the state. “It also makes me wonder what they have up their sleeve if there something less crazy to bring out in the next couple weeks.”

Representative Deb Butler of Wilmington, whose wife died six weeks ago from an aneurysm, thought the legislature was heading in a more progressive direction after the legislative session began with a recognition of her wife. On Wednesday, she realized how wrong she was. 

“Just when we think we’re making progress, you get some right-wing conservative haters who just can’t embrace diversity. They just can’t do it,” Butler says. “They can’t treat people with compassion and inclusion. They use religion as a sword.”

The bill’s backers did not respond to requests for comment. 

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