Conservative Republican Paul “same-sex marriage leads to adult incest” Stam was recently elected as House Speaker Pro Tempore, and he used the august occasion to quote from the 800-year-old British document Magna Carta.

Brief history lesson: Issued in 1215, Magna Carta curbed the authority of King John, who was drunk on power. The MC also sired several tenets of the U.S. Constitution.

OK, back to the present. In his acceptance speech, Stam used the MC to set the tone for the upcoming legislative session, saying that “old principles will often suggest a way forward.”

However, the British Library, whom we trust to know about the Magna Carta, says the document was “never meant to be a lasting declaration of legal principle, but was a practical solution to a political crisis … Magna Carta dealt mainly with those at the top of the social scale and had relatively little impact on the majority of people at the time …”

There were a few MC humdingers in Stam’s speech, including a reference to criminal justice: “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice,” Stam read, quoting from the MC, and then adding: “Many of us are working now to realize that promise so that the resolution of criminal charges, at least, may require only months and not years.”

Case in point: Joseph Sledge, exonerated last week after 37 years in prison. The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence and the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission, not Republicans, took up the case.

And Stam promised to take up the issue of religious freedom when the Legislature convenes Jan. 28. That should be a doozy.

This Week in Disappointment chronicles the antics of the state Legislature.