Tennessee Republican Has Fun Traditional Heterosexual Marriage Bill, For The Kids!

This is a serious lawmaker and his name is Tom Leatherwood

Here's a strange story we're following, which is suddenly going around Twitter today. An extremist Republican wingnut Tennessee state rep named Tom Leatherwood has introduced a bill to create an "alternative form" of marriage. You know, something just for the straights and the pastors who hate gays. That's a thing we need, right?

The bill’s sponsor, Tom Leatherwood (R-Arlington) said the law being considered would add a new marriage option for Tennesseans. “So, 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.”

Exactly. Like if you were in a traditional penis-vagina marriage, but then the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in 2015, and ever since you've been scared Jesus would think YOU and your traditional penis-vagina marriage are now gay and send you to hell with all the other newly gay Tennessee penis-vagina marriagers, well now you'd have a different option!

But there's just this one tiny issue.

But missing from the bill are age requirements, opening the door for possible child marriages. Something the bill sponsor acknowledged during a Children and Family Affairs subcommittee. “There is not an explicit age limit,” Leatherwood said.

Hey, Josh Hawley! Hey Ted Cruz! Hey Tennessee GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn! We found your "soft on pedophiles." It was in this bill to create a new kind of common law marriage in Tennessee where grown Christian conservative men might perhaps be able to marry little girls. Not that conservative fundamentalist white men have ever had any interest in such things!

Also, we have a question: What would be a good word to describe an adult who marries a child? Is that person doing some GROOMING MAYBE?

So, it's true what the news is saying. We read the bill (H.B. 233). The language is loopy and weird, but it definitely is about making a special common law category for only one peener, one 'gina marriage, and like Leatherwood admits, "there is not an explicit age limit."

Tennessee state Democratic Rep. Mike Stewart has questions:

Stewart (D-Nashville), who sits on the subcommittee the bill passed out of, said he doesn’t understand the motivation. “I don’t think any normal person thinks we shouldn’t have an age requirement for marriage.”

He added it could open up the possibility to cover up child sex abuse. “It should not be there as it’s basically a get out of jail free card for people who are basically committing statutory rape — I mean it’s completely ridiculous, so that’s another reason why this terrible bill should be eliminated,” Stewart said.

It would seem to us that the motivation is that Tom Leatherwood is a bigot and a moron, who feels the need to make a bill happen to create a special category for what he believes are God-approved opposite-genital marriages, and for whatever reason — whether it's just because he's a dumbfuck state legislator who can't write a bill to save his fuckin' life, or something more nefarious, but for fairness's sake we're gonna lean toward "dumbfuck" — kids are included!

By the way, the sponsor of the state Senate version of the bill, Sen. Janice Bowling, seems like a real winner. She's some kind of anti-vaxx asshole, and she's been introducing bills that put the government in between doctors and families seeking affirming healthcare for their kids who are transgender. Sponsoring the Senate version of this fucked up bill? Totally on brand for her.

Here, have some footage of the esteemed Leatherwood trying to explain why his bill is so great, while Democrats in the state ask questions like "What?" and also "Wait what the fuck?"

By the way, Salon dug up some statistics and found that Tennessee ranks 13th highest per capita in child marriage, under current state laws.

Sometimes random-ass state bills like this go nowhere. Sometimes they go somewhere. These bills are being debated in the Lege this week. We wish we could confidently assure you it will all be fine and Tennessee won't accidentally or intentionally legalize child marriage, but LOL have you met Tennessee lately?


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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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