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Tennessee governor signs bill allowing public officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages

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Tennessee Gov. Lee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill Wednesday allowing public officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

State lawmakers approved Tennessee House Bill 878 last week. The legislation states people “shall not be required to solemnize a marriage” if they refuse to doing so based on their “conscience or religious beliefs.” According to the Tennessee Legislature website, the governor signed the bill Wednesday

Lee has not publicly commented on the bill yet per his social media and his office’s website.

The bill does not allow officials to deny marriage licenses to couples based on their beliefs but prevents officials from being required to solemnize a marriage. The State House first passed the bill in March 2023, but the State’s General Assembly booted it to 2024 for consideration.

Lee was thrown into the spotlight last year after signing a bill that became the first-in-the-nation restriction on drag performances, and banned gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. A federal judge later ruled that the restrictions on drag shows were unconstitutional.




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