NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/AP) – A bill pushing to create a new marriage contract between “one man” and “one woman,” excluding same-sex couples, is dead for this year’s annual legislative session amid concerns expressed by both Republicans and Democrats.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Leatherwood (R-Arlington) moved the legislation to summer study with the vote of a House committee Wednesday.
Critics decried the bill as an unconstitutional effort to circumvent the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage. Supporters argued the measure is needed to give religious officials, couples, and others opposed to gay marriage an option that wouldn’t conflict with their beliefs.
“All this bill does is give an alternative form of marriage for those pastors and other individuals who have a conscientious objection to the current pathway to marriage in our law,” Leatherwood said during a committee meeting late last month.
The bill gained national attention because it initially failed to include a minimum age, which opponents argued would open the doors for child marriages. Lawmakers amended one into the bill last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.