Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act (HB 892)
This law was last updated on Feb 11, 2019
HB 892 would make it the policy of the state of Tennessee to defend “natural” marriage as recognized by the people of Tennessee, in the Constitution and laws of the state of Tennessee, consistent with natural law, and the written United States Constitution.
The bill states that “natural” marriage between one man and one woman as recognized by the people of Tennessee remains the law in Tennessee, regardless of any court decision to the contrary.
The bill would allow the speaker of the house of representatives and the speaker of the senate to employ legal counsel to defend the constitutionality of the law in the event the attorney general and reporter decline to defend this provision or any other law prohibiting the recognition of marriage other than “natural” marriage.
The bill would prohibit any state or local agency or official from giving force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s laws protecting “natural” marriage.
Additionally, the bill would prohibit any state or local agency or official from levying upon the property or arresting the person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding “natural” marriage.
The bill would require the office of vital records to determine whether the license applied for would entitle the applicants to enter into a lawful and valid marriage pursuant to Article XI, § 18 of the Constitution of Tennessee.
Article XI, § 18 of the Constitution of Tennessee states:
“The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.”
If passed, the law would take effect immediately.
Companion bill to SB 752.
Based on model legislation drafted by the Liberty Counsel.