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Tennessee has declared war on same-sex families: Inside the legislation that would eradicate nearly all rights for LGBT couples

A brace of bills in the Tennessee statehouse is aimed at rolling back gains made by during Obama administration

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Heather MacKenzie bought her wedding ring at Wal-Mart. MacKenzie, now 38, proposed to her wife, Charitey, by driving to the top of Tiger Hill in Murfreesboro, a town located near the couple’s Tennessee home. The hill, a favorite spot for preteen sledders during the winter, looks over the entire town, as well as the vast expanse of the surrounding area. This was where the MacKenzies had their first date.

The pair said “I do” in June 2015, just days after the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling legalized marriage between same-sex couples in their state. The MacKenzies were wed in Nashville in front of the courthouse under a magnolia tree.

Over a year later, the couple are expecting a child: Charitey is 12 weeks pregnant with a son. A trio of recently proposed laws, however, could jeopardize the future of their growing clan. This legislation seeks to erase any hint of legal recognition for LGBT couples in Tennessee, all but declaring war on the families of same-sex parents living in the state.

Filed by State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, House Bill 1406 would prevent a couple from listing on the birth certificate the second parent (the spouse not giving birth) after a woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. The legislation would nullify a provision of the Tennessee Code Annotated 68-3-306, which was issued as part of the Vital Records Act of 1977. The law states, “A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman’s husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.

If Weaver’s bill passes, Heather would not be considered the legal guardian of the child on the way. In order to gain that status, she would have to file for a second-parent adoption, a process that’s both costly and time intensive. The couple is raising a daughter the two adopted four years ago and it cost $6,500 for Heather and Chariety to gain her custody.

“It’s a lot of money, especially after you’re preparing for a newborn,” said Heather, who works as a supervisor for an automotive distribution center in Smyrna. “And now you have to go adopt your own child. We know a lot of couples who have waited until their kids are in elementary school because they waited to save up to do the adoption. If something happens in between that time, it could be really harmful to your family.”

If Charitey were to be in a car wreck, for instance, Heather could make legal decisions for her but not for their expected child. The  newborn would have no rights to Heather’s inheritance or her insurance — an added complication for the couple. If HB 1406 were to be passed, it would go into effect on July 1, three months before Charitey is expected to give birth. Heather receives health care benefits through her workplace, but if the new baby would not be longer eligible for that coverage, who would pay for the hospital costs?

The legislation leaves a terrifying number of unanswered questions, few of which have been answered by HB 1406’s authors. Although Weaver claimed in a Facebook post that the legislation is not intended to target same-sex families, she didn’t address the fact that her bill does exactly that.

The legislation, which was put forward this month, appears to have been introduced in response to a divorce case concerning a lesbian couple in Knoxville. The Republican lawmaker was one of 53 legislators who filed amicus briefs siding with the court’s decision in a case last year in which Erica Witt lobbied for custody of a daughter she had conceived while wed to her wife, Sabrina, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage rights of same-sex couples. The judge decided that because Tennessee didn’t legally recognize relationships between two women in 2014, Erica had no visitation rights whatsoever.

HB 1406 isn’t the only bill, however, that would make lives more difficult for same-sex couples in the state. Republican state Rep. Mark Pody has refiled House Bill 892, also known as the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act. Voted down by the General Assembly last year, the legislation seeks to override the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex unions in favor of the state’s definition — or lack thereof. In 2006, 81 percent of voters cast a ballot saying that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

In addition, there’s also House Bill 33. Sponsored by state Reps. Janice Bowling and John Ragan, the bill would “[require] that the words ‘husband,’ ‘wife,’ ‘mother,’ and ‘father’ be given their natural and ordinary meaning” in any legal or legislative context.

According to The Tennessean, HB 33 could have extreme, sweeping effects on same-sex couples in the state, erasing the rights and benefits afforded to their relationships at every turn. The newspaper has reported that the word “mother” appears more 110 times in local laws, including everything from marriage rights to divorce and even filing your taxes. In addition, “father” popped up 68 times in a search of state and local legislation, while “wife” showed up on 55 different occasions.

 
 

Beth Littrell, the staff counsel for Lambda Legal, called these bills a “mean-spirited waste of time that would be struck down by the first federal court to hear the challenge.”

But even if these three discriminatory pieces of legislation are unconstitutional, it “could take years before they are overturned,” as Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, explained. In the interim, they could do enormous damage to the lives of LGBT families. For instance, HB 33 would stipulate that if one member of a same-sex couple dies, he or she doesn’t have to be treated as a legal spouse possessing the same property rights granted heterosexual couples. And because he or she wouldn’t be recognized under the traditional definitions of “husband” or “wife,” the surviving partner could be forced out of the home they shared.

“The real victims will be the children of same-sex couples and of all couples who are conceived by means of fertility clinics,” Littrell said, noting that the artificial insemination bill would also affect opposite-sex parents. “It seems awfully counterproductive.”

Chris Sanders, the executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, noted that bills like HB 1046 are bad for all couples. For instance, in cases of artificial insemination if there’s no longer the presumption that the second parent should be listed on a birth certificate, a husband may be forced to go to court to lobby for parental rights in relation to his child. That legal process would have the unfortunate side effect of outing infertile mothers who may not want to advertise to family and friends that they are not able to conceive children without the help of medical professionals.

“It gets rid of your privacy,” Sanders said. “It’s suddenly a public process and everyone knows your business.”

But while these bills hurt everyone, they are part of a targeted legislative push to make LGBT Tennesseans feel unwelcome and unsafe in their own state. This trinity of anti-marriage legislation coincides with the re-introduction of a bathroom bill, filed by Rep. Pody and state Sen. Mae Beavers, intended to prevent trans people from using the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. A similar law had been considered last year but tabled following overwhelming backlash — much like the controversy that has followed North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

 

 

 

While LGBT people in the South have been fighting against right-wing bigotry for decades, Melissa Snarr said it feels “brutally personal” this time. “We’re used to that sort of thing in Tennessee, but after the election, it’s become even more brutal,” said Snarr, who teaches at Vanderbilt University’s School of Divinity. “I woke up with my son at 5:45 this morning and did all the normal things to make him feel safe and loved, but there’s no sense of me as a person. We’ve become an issue. We’re not actually people. It feels like a choice by the legislature to erase our lives.”

Snarr, 46, who is raising a 6-month-old son with her wife, Kelley Francis, said that same-sex couples will continue to fight to gain the same legal recognition as heterosexual families. It’s what they’ve been doing for decades. The Snarrs married three years ago, prior to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, and secured attorneys to help them navigate estate rights and put together a living will. But unfortunately, far too few lawyers intimately understand that process for same-sex couples, meaning many people — especially low-income families — will be back to square one.

But for Heather MacKenzie, the fight is not just about the financial and legal burden that these bills would place on same-sex couples. It’s about ensuring that members of her family are treated as equals.

“It was amazing for me to be able to be added to my first child’s birth certificate,” MacKenzie said. “For me, it’s more than a piece of paper. To me, it’s a sign we’ve made it. We’re being recognized as a family. This child will be very loved, and for somebody to try to pass a bill to take that away from us — and we’ve made it this far — it’s ridiculous.”

http://www.salon.com/2017/02/27/tennessee-has-declared-war-on-same-sex-families-inside-the-legislation-that-would-eradicate-nearly-all-rights-for-lgbt-couples/

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22 hours ago, jazzyjan said:

Trump supporters are always excusing his dreadful behaviour while pointing the finger at anyone who is against him. He mocks disabled people, gloats about grabbing women by the pussy and saying he could shoot someone in Times Square and not lose voters.  Yet they claim he had more decency and class than Hollywood awards because of an envelope muck up fail at the Oscars. See his supporters saying that all over the net. They really excuse everything he does and says. 

I call them a cult at this point because they are.  

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7 hours ago, Hector said:

Dafuq?

 

:blink::blink:

I mean, this is the oval office, you have a meeting and you act like that infront of the visitors ???

 

wow, just wow

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8 hours ago, Hector said:

Dafuq?

 

:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao: 

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what a big deal over nothing. Sitting incorrectly on a sofa? Really, that's the latest outrage? Meanwhile, famine will hit Yemen. Who cares?

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Carnival car in germany :D

C5w2c-tXQAADmSe.jpg:large

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18 hours ago, Hector said:

Dafuq?

 

Looks like she's about to get gang banged

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8 hours ago, Genevieve Vavance said:

looks like a gangbang party

Thats what i was about to say

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11 hours ago, CzarnaWisnia said:

what a big deal over nothing. Sitting incorrectly on a sofa? Really, that's the latest outrage? Meanwhile, famine will hit Yemen. Who cares?

Normally, I'd say the same thing.....however.....fuck them. They need to be attacked from every direction possible. If that bitch goes on TV with a piece of broccoli in her teeth from lunch, I fully expect an OUTRAGE to erupt. As should be. They made the bed....now they gotta lie in it. OH WELL!

giphy.gif

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http://www.politicususa.com/2017/02/28/bernie-sanders-annihilates-trump-facts-rebuttal-congressional-speech.html

Bernie Sanders Annihilates Trump With Facts In His Rebuttal To Congressional Speech

By Jason Easley on Tue, Feb 28th, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leveled President Trump with a forceful fact based rebuttal that exposed the unpopularity of the Trump agenda.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leveled President Trump with a forceful fact based rebuttal that exposed the unpopularity of the Trump agenda.

Sanders pointed out that Trump never mentioned climate change, justice reform, and Citizens United. Sen. Sanders (I-VT) reminded America that Trump didn’t say one word about making colleges more affordable and addressing the crisis of student debt.

Sanders went on to attack Trump for not draining the swamp. The Senator from Vermont hit Trump for breaking his campaign promise of reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. 

Sen. Sanders said that some of what Trump said looks good on the surface. Sanders exposed Trump’s infrastructure plan as bogus and said that the had a hard time not laughing out loud when Trump spoke about protecting clean air and water.

Sanders said that Trump is going to pay for his Pentagon spending spree by slashing funding for programs for the elderly, sick, and the poor.Sanders hit Trump for wanting to give the wealthy a $3 trillion tax cut.

Sanders busted Trump for lying about the US having the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Sen. Sanders showed Democrats how a rebuttal should be done. He came out and challenged Trump’s priorities directly. 

Most importantly, Bernie Sanders exposed Trump’s false statements, while delivering the truth. Bernie Sanders said the things that Donald Trump doesn’t want the American people to know.

Sanders’ speech was how a rebuttal should look. He was aggressive while tapping into the grassroots energy and rage against the Trump administration. Sanders said that Republicans aren’t so cocky anymore about repealing the Affordable Care Act. He called on people to continue the fight and make their voices heard.

Sen. Sanders said that Republicans are on the defensive, and he urged more people to get involved. 

VIDEO:

 

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1 hour ago, Hector said:

http://www.politicususa.com/2017/02/28/bernie-sanders-annihilates-trump-facts-rebuttal-congressional-speech.html

Bernie Sanders Annihilates Trump With Facts In His Rebuttal To Congressional Speech

By Jason Easley on Tue, Feb 28th, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leveled President Trump with a forceful fact based rebuttal that exposed the unpopularity of the Trump agenda.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leveled President Trump with a forceful fact based rebuttal that exposed the unpopularity of the Trump agenda.

Sanders pointed out that Trump never mentioned climate change, justice reform, and Citizens United. Sen. Sanders (I-VT) reminded America that Trump didn’t say one word about making colleges more affordable and addressing the crisis of student debt.

Sanders went on to attack Trump for not draining the swamp. The Senator from Vermont hit Trump for breaking his campaign promise of reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. 

Sen. Sanders said that some of what Trump said looks good on the surface. Sanders exposed Trump’s infrastructure plan as bogus and said that the had a hard time not laughing out loud when Trump spoke about protecting clean air and water.

Sanders said that Trump is going to pay for his Pentagon spending spree by slashing funding for programs for the elderly, sick, and the poor.Sanders hit Trump for wanting to give the wealthy a $3 trillion tax cut.

Sanders busted Trump for lying about the US having the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Sen. Sanders showed Democrats how a rebuttal should be done. He came out and challenged Trump’s priorities directly. 

Most importantly, Bernie Sanders exposed Trump’s false statements, while delivering the truth. Bernie Sanders said the things that Donald Trump doesn’t want the American people to know.

Sanders’ speech was how a rebuttal should look. He was aggressive while tapping into the grassroots energy and rage against the Trump administration. Sanders said that Republicans aren’t so cocky anymore about repealing the Affordable Care Act. He called on people to continue the fight and make their voices heard.

Sen. Sanders said that Republicans are on the defensive, and he urged more people to get involved. 

VIDEO:

 

Bless this man.

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Bernie - you should be the President yourself.  What a man and someone who stands up for what he believes in.  His intelligence, compassion, never say die attitude, strength and performances alienate Trump in every way. 

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:megamanson:

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The worse thing is that they believe their own shit. 

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1 hour ago, LSD said:

:megamanson:

I swear... :rolleyes:

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Just now, Genevieve Vavance said:

why can't Bernie be president :( ?

Because more than half of this board was stanning for Hillary Fucking Clinton. Needless to say that his own party sabotaged his nomination. They screwed him over.

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1 minute ago, Nessie said:

Because more than half of this board was stanning for Hillary Fucking Clinton. Needless to say that his own party sabotaged his nomination. They screwed him over.

they really fucked it up !

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3 minutes ago, Nessie said:

Because more than half of this board was stanning for Hillary Fucking Clinton. Needless to say that his own party sabotaged his nomination. They screwed him over.

well he decided it was HIS party though only in 2015, so it is not really that suprising that they didn't support him with flying colors once he "graced" them with his presence. And I know many people who actually liked Clinton more - those do exist. Needless to say that some of his butthurt supporters rather decided not to vote out of the "evilness" of the party. In some states the difference was only of the order of 10 000s, though these few votes might have been crucial as well.

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15 minutes ago, Nessie said:

Because more than half of this board was stanning for Hillary Fucking Clinton. Needless to say that his own party sabotaged his nomination. They screwed him over.

He is not a democrat. Maybe if he was, the party would have warmed to him. But he wasn't then and he isn't now.

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So Trump gave a coherent speech and spoke in complete sentences last night and the national media is tripping over themselves with praise. Are you fucking kidding me? He's like a elementary school kid who gets award just for participating and gets treated like a first place winner just for showing up. 

This guy has set the bar SO unbelievably low that when he doesn't choke on his own word vomit or insult someone or lie about things to make himself look better, he's regarding as presidential. I just can't... I really can't. The corporate media, I'm convinced, loves this guy more than they let on. They love to hate him and report on every tweet just so spend hours with their panel of 'experts' dissecting what he really meant or analyze the shit out of it just so they can maintain the ratings boom they're all getting out of this shitshow. 

This country has become so devoid of any kind of moral compass and so utterly obsessed with celebrity culture that I'm legit frightened to see what he'll be able to get away with. But I gotta hand it to whomever helped him write that speech, they put some expensive makeup on one of the most frightening far-right agenda's we've ever seen. Who cares though, right? We can get back to clutching our pearls over Beyonce' not winning the Grammy that she SO deserved. :abuse: 

Jesus. 

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15 minutes ago, KalamazooJay said:

So Trump gave a coherent speech and spoke in complete sentences last night and the national media is tripping over themselves with praise. Are you fucking kidding me? He's like a elementary school kid who gets award just for participating and gets treated like a first place winner just for showing up. 

This guy has set the bar SO unbelievably low that when he doesn't choke on his own word vomit or insult someone or lie about things to make himself look better, he's regarding as presidential. I just can't... I really can't. The corporate media, I'm convinced, loves this guy more than they let on. They love to hate him and report on every tweet just so spend hours with their panel of 'experts' dissecting what he really meant or analyze the shit out of it just so they can maintain the ratings boom they're all getting out of this shitshow. 

This country has become so devoid of any kind of moral compass and so utterly obsessed with celebrity culture that I'm legit frightened to see what he'll be able to get away with. But I gotta hand it to whomever helped him write that speech, they put some expensive makeup on one of the most frightening far-right agenda's we've ever seen. Who cares though, right? We can get back to clutching our pearls over Beyonce' not winning the Grammy that she SO deserved. :abuse: 

Jesus. 

Agree totally.  They are falling all over themselves to praise him and not looking at the main issues.  It is sickening how this man is basically allowed to get away with some shocking polices and it is over-looked time and time again.  Instead they play right into his hands by reporting on non political issues and then have him rant about fake news and the media.  

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