The Christian-based Family Action Council of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit to stop same-sex marriage in the state even though gay marriage was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 (video below).
David Fowler, president of FACT, explained his legal action to Kim Troby of the Family Policy Alliance, the political arm of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family, on May 30.
Fowler told Troby that the Supreme Court's ruling against state laws that ban same-sex marriage actually invalidated Tennessee's marriage law for everyone, therefore ministers who perform any marriages in the state could be charged criminally:
So, we have filed a lawsuit by ministers, those licensed to solemnize marriages, saying we are subject to criminal penalties under the state law if we marry people without them having a valid marriage license law.
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And so when the Supreme Court said if your state law excludes same-sex couples, and Tennessee's does, it requires that the applicants be male and female. What law do we now have in Tennessee and are we subject to criminal sanctions, now, if we solemnize a marriage under the statute, of course they can do religious ceremonies, but not legal ceremonies.
Fowler laid out some similar logic in January when he announced his lawsuit during a press conference, noted The Tennessean:
How does anyone, regardless of the sexes of the parties, get a valid marriage license pursuant to an invalid law?... This lawsuit asserts the simple proposition that an invalid law is no law. And the power asserted by the Supreme Court is nothing less than a power, by court order, to enact or replace a law that it has ruled invalid.
Fowler added that he was willing to take his case to the Supreme Court, which he hopes will rule against itself in his favor: "Because by the time we get there I hope some of them will have wakened up from their imperial slumber."
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According to Nashville Scene, Fowler questioned the authority of the Supreme Court, which has authority over the states through the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution:
When you begin to say you can make us pass a law you like, then you are the ruler of every person in the United States. We should just go home and you tell us what laws we have to have and we’ll just come by and say, "that sounds good to me."
Fowler added that public schools could have gotten around the high court's ruling against racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education by disbanding the entire public school system.
"And the Supreme Court could not have forced them to create a school system," Fowler stated. "How would they do it?"
ThinkProgress reported in January that Fowler placed a flowchart on the FACT website that showed how he hoped to ultimately stop gay marriage with his legal challenge. The image has since been removed.