If you thought the fight for marriage equality was over with the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2015, you couldn’t be more wrong. Although the justices ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, that hasn’t stopped the far right from throwing up roadblocks whenever and wherever possible.
As an example, we had the standoff between Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis and the courts, which rallied right-wing political figures to her cause. Presidential candidates like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have also embraced her defiance of the Supreme Court, and have vowed to reverse marriage equality if elected to the White House.
In Tennessee, legislation has been introduced to defy the Supreme Court, which would cost the state billions of dollars in federal funding, and would certainly keep a lot of lawyers employed trying to defend it in court.
Via The Tennessean:
A bill that would direct Tennessee officials to essentially ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage could cost the state more than $8.5 billion, according to the bill’s fiscal note.
That figure includes the federal funding the state receives for programs such as TennCare that could get yanked if the state goes against the federal court’s order.
TennCare receives about $6.5 billion in federal funding, and the Department of Human Services receives more than $2 billion for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families aid programs, according to the fiscal note. (Source)
So let’s look at the motivations for costing the state over $8 billion in funding. GOP politicians in deep-red states simply cannot declare that the war against marriage equality is over. Even though any legislation that contradicts the Supreme Court is destined to fail, they have to keep dangling the carrot in front of their constituents who believe that the Constitution only protects the rights of conservative Christians, and nobody else. These voters are a small, but vocal minority in the United States, and political figures like Donald Trump have learned to tap into their outrage fueled by conservative media outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart.
Losing this funding would be devastating for the residents of Tennessee, but the lawmakers pushing this bill could care less. The people affected would include their own supporters who have happily voted against their self-interests, and have repeatedly elected government officials who pander to the religious right. Across the Bible Belt, many states have refused Medicaid expansion to score political points with conservatives, despite the fact that they’re losing out on billions of federal dollars that could help the working class who can’t afford private insurance.
Even though the residents of Tennessee who support this law would be hurt by this funding blockage, they somehow think it won’t affect them, and that they’re entitled to these government programs – but people who aren’t white conservative Christians like them are just moochers working the system. If this law does pass and the federal funding is cut off, the conservative voters of Tennessee will likely end up blaming everyone else, instead of their own fear and political ignorance.