Tennessee should stop issuing marriage licenses in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage legal, state Rep. Rick Womick said, the Daily News Journal reports.
“The state Constitution says that marriage is between one man and one woman, and my personal belief is that God says that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Womick, a Republican who resides in Rutherford County’s Rockvale community southwest of Murfreesboro. “He created Adam and Eve. God didn’t create Adam and Winston.”
Although supporters of marriage equality rights for gay couples celebrated the high court’s June ruling, Womick said during a Tuesday phone interview that Tennessee should revert back to being a common-law state on marriage and stop issuing licenses for couples to wed.
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, a Republican from Nashville, appointed a task force that includes state Rep. Mike Carter to examine how to respond to the court ruling, and the group will soon meet again on the issue, said Carter, a Republican from Ooltewah in the Hamilton County in the Chattanooga area.
Nationally recognized authorities on constitutional law are involved in informing states how to respond to the court’s ruling, Carter said.
Womick, Carter and many other Republican lawmakers contend that the five justices in the majority of the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote overstepped the judicial branch’s authority with the ruling that made gay marriage legal throughout the country.
“This is a state-sovereignty issue,” Womick said. “They have no business ruling on it to begin with. What we have up there is an oligarchy of five individuals declaring their will on the rest of the country.”
If the state decided to stop issuing marriage licenses, people would still be able to go to church to obtain marriage certificates, Womick said.
“It used to be that way until after the Civil War,” Womick said.