South Carolina Republicans Table Bill to Define Gay Marriage as 'Parody Marriage'

Updated | Six South Carolina Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to amend state law to define same-sex marriage as “parody marriage.”

The Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act argues that any marriages not between a man and a woman “fail to check out the human design.” The bill also defines marriage as a “union between a man and a woman.”

The legislation, which has been submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, seeks “to provide that ‘parody marriage’ policies are non-secular in nature” and “to prohibit the state from respecting, endorsing or recognizing any ‘parody marriage’ policy or policies that treat sexual orientation as a suspect class.”

LA Pride 2017 Resist march The U.S. Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage equality in a 2015 ruling. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Josiah Magnuson, Bill Chumley, Steven Long, Mike Burns, John McCravy and Rick Martin are the six representatives behind the bill. All are up for re-election in the 2018 general election.

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The lawmakers seem undeterred by the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed the rights of same-sex couples to marry and meant all 50 states must perform and recognize such marriages.

The supporters of the bill argue that although there has not been "a land rush" on gay marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgement, there has been an increase in "persecution of non-observers by secular humanists and an effort by secular humanists to infiltrate and indoctrinate minors in public schools into their world view."

This world view, the bill’s authors claim "is questionably moral, plausible, obscene, and is not secular."

The lawmakers believe that the observance of same-sex marriage rights has "excessively entageled" the state government with secular humanism and has created an indefensible legal weapon to be used on its opponents.

South Carolina Lawmakers Debate Removing The Confederate Flag Near Statehouse The South Carolina state house. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Long, who first proposed the bill, told local news site WACHFox: "It's true that people can do whatever they want in their own homes but they can't force that on the state."

Jeff March, president of SC Pride, claimed that the proposed bill was "Pure outright prejudice."

"The word 'parody' is very comical in its definition," March told WACHFox. "They want to call our marriage that we fought so hard for... a 'parody marriage.' That insults me on the deepest level."

"It’s written with hate. I can’t imagine there are state officials that put this in writing," March said.

Shaundra Young Scott, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in South Carolina, said: “This bill is an absurd insult to the gay and lesbian families of South Carolina, and their children. Marriage equality is settled law, affirmed in 2015 by the United States Supreme Court. 

"The authors use a ridiculous legal argument in a blatant attempt to roll back the rights of LGBTQ citizens. The real parody here is not marriages of same-sex couples, but the introduction of the ‘Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act’ as any kind of governing. This should die in committee, and we call on members of the South Carolina House to ensure that this bill never becomes law.”

This story was updated on 21 February to include a quote from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in South Carolina.