For immediate release: March 18, 2017
TN Natural Defense Act would cost Tennessee $.5 Million and may reach $2 Billion, according to fiscal note
Nashville, TN--The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act, SB752/HB892 by Senator Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody, was assigned a fiscal note on March 17 that forecasts costs as high as $2 Billion. The fiscal note is available in pdf at this link. The bill is up for consideration by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on March 22.
The legislative summary of the bill reads: “As introduced, enacts the ‘Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,’ which states the policy of Tennessee to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.”
“The bill would expose same-sex married couples in Tennessee to discrimination with dire consequences and prevent other same-sex couples from getting married while it is challenged in the courts. But the fiscal note makes it clear that the whole state will suffer because the Bureau of TennCare’s funding could be cut as well as other programs,” notes Tennessee Equality Project executive director Chris Sanders. “Although hard to estimate the exact cost in legal fees, they are a certainty if this bill passes. There is no way LGBT Tennesseans will stand for the State attempting to nullify the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling. Considering the human and financial costs, there is no justification for the bill.”
The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act is part of what Tennessee Equality Project calls a “slate of hate,” or discriminatory legislation filed in Tennessee in 2017. Other bills include SB771/HB888 (the anti-transgender student bathroom bill), SB30/HB33 (LGBT Erasure bill), SB1085/HB1111 (replacement for the original LGBT Erasure bill), SB127/HB54 (Business License to Discriminate bill), and SB1153/HB1406 (artificial insemination bill directed at lesbian couples).
Over 80 Tennessee clergy have voiced opposition to these bills that are directed at the LGBT community. Find their names here.
Tennessee Equality Project is a statewide organization working the equality of LGBT Tennesseans. For more information, go to TNEP.org .