Tennessee lawmakers spent the day yesterday considering nullification and defiance of the Supreme Court ruling overturning same-sex marriage bans.
I say they considered bankrupting the state because the bill introduced by Republicans in the Tennessee House would have obligated the state to defend any public official who refuses to recognize a same-sex marriage license.
Furthermore, the state would have been cut off from federal funding for social assistance programs.
The legislation prohibits any state or local agency from recognizing the effect of such decisions, and also requires the attorney general to defend any official who is sued for not recognizing a same-sex couple’s marriage.
Passing the law could cost Tennessee more than $8.5 billion, according to the bill’s fiscal note produced by the General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee. This sum would largely come in the form of federal funding that would be cut for the state’s health care program (TennCare), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
That's a very expensive, ineffectual gay marriage ban that ultimately wouldn't ban gay marriage because that is no longer a state's right.
The good news, for now, is that the Tennessee House has rejected the bill, but the lawmakers who introduced it, state Representative Mark Pody (R) and state Senator Mae Beavers (R), apparently have a back-up plan involving two more bills.