Don's Blog: Tennessee Legislature, Expected To Be The Last On Gay Marriage Train, Lashes Out by Making It Compulsory--For Straights

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tennessee Legislature, Expected To Be The Last On Gay Marriage Train, Lashes Out by Making It Compulsory--For Straights

Even with the recent Supreme Court decisions, and a growing list of states sanctioning gay marriage, several states were clearly expected to bring up the back of the train. Tennessee for one. Long considered one of the most conservative states on the social side of things, Tennessee has often kept laws on its books banning certain types of voluntary sexual practices long after most states had repealed them, and even after courts had overturned them.

Now, however, the Tennessee legislature has chosen to take and boldly different approach to gay marriage, passing a recent aw making such ceremonies mandatory, but only for straight people--even if the straight citizens are already in an historically conventional marriage.

"We realized recently that we were fighting a tide of public opinion," Senator Biff Weinglass said in a television interview Thursday. "Once they convinced the straights that it was a losing battle to fight this thing, we saw the handwriting on the wall, and it was written in big letters. So we're going to give them what they want, and then some. And if they get more than they bargained for, the whose fault is that? Maybe it'll teach 'em not to fall in with the crowd."

Asked about the fact that Tennessee's constitution, as a result of a 2006 amendment passed by the voters, prohibits gay marriages, Weinglass said, "That doesn't mean much. We don't pay much attention to those amendments. We just do what we do, and it either flies or it doesn't. That was passed when the tide was going the other way. It was just a moment in time."

Weinglass denied that the recent measure was a carefully calculated overreaction designed to provoke opposition to the concept of gay marriage. "No, we're giving in on this one. You have to sometimes. The way I look at it, at least we are still in the business of regulating some type of private activity. That's what's most important to me. We don't ever want to lose that."

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