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Tennessee lawmaker pushes ahead with anti-gay marriage bill despite warning it could cost $8.5 billion in federal funding

Tennessee lawmaker pushes ahead with anti-gay marriage bill despite warning it could cost $8.5 billion in federal funding

Rep Mark Pody sponsored the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.

An anti-gay marriage bill that will be voted on this week could cost Tennessee $8.5 billion in federal funding if it is passed.

The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act, which was introduced in both the state house and senate in September, seeks to nullify the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

According to the Tennessee general assembly’s fiscal review committee, ‘the provisions of the bill could jeopardize federal funding if it is determined the state is noncompliant with federal law’ – which it clearly is.

This includes $6.5 billion in funding to the state Medicaid program and another $2 billion in other services for low-income families, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs.

However, Rep Mark Pody, who sponsored the bill in the house, told The Tennessean newspaper that he would push ahead with the legislation.

The Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTI groups have strongly condemned the bill.

‘The Supreme Court of the United States has unequivocally settled the issue once and for all by making clear that loving and committed same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry,’ said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

‘This legislation is thoroughly unconstitutional, and it would no doubt cost taxpayers significantly in a vain, injudicious attempt to undermine marriage equality for LGBT Tennesseans.’

‘This outrageous attack on LGBT Tennessee families is reckless and appalling,’ said Chris Sanders of Tennessee Equality Project.

‘Attempting to undermine the fact that marriage equality is the law of the land is a stain on Tennessee’s reputation, an unacceptable risk to our state budget, and a chilling message to LGBT people in Tennessee. Fair-minded people from Memphis to Mountain City are speaking up to say that this extremist attack on equality will not be tolerated. The time for allies to join us is now.’