The Tennessee House of Representatives passed on Thursday a symbolic resolution expressing its opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June that legalised same-sex marriage in the country.
Lawmakers passed Joint Resolution 529 sponsored by Republican state Rep. Susan Lynn that calls the Supreme Court ruling a "constitutional overreach."
It says "this body expresses its strong disagreement with the constitutional overreach in Obergefell v. Hodges that, in violation of the constitutional and judicially recognised principles of federalism and separation of powers, purports to allow federal courts to order or direct a state legislative body to affirmatively amend or replace a state statute."
During the discussion of the bill on the floor, Lynn said the resolution is in support of a "lawsuit that is going on in Williamson County" which seeks to stop the issuance of marriage licences since the Supreme Court's June ruling said that "state laws ... are ... held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples."
Lynn told The Tennessean that the resolution reminds the Supreme Court of the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of government and that it violated the doctrine of severability.
"They can't decree that we now have to marry same-sex couples. Our law does not say that, it's never said that, and it was never the intent of the General Assembly to do that," she said.
The resolution says the Tennessee law prescribes that "applicants for a marriage license be a 'male and female' and that there be a valid license 'before' a marriage can be solemnized. This would appear to 'exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.'"
It cites the dissenting opinions of Chief Justice John Roberts and the late justice Antonin Scalia on the same-sex issue.
In his dissent, Roberts wrote that "the Court's accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it."
"With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the reasoned judgment of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence," wrote Scalia.
The Tennessee Senate is expected to pass the resolution.