'Every state can decide her destiny': This Tennessee Republican is campaigning on ending same-sex marriage
For many years, civil libertarians warned that if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade, the fallout would go beyond abortion — and everything from contraception to gay rights would also be in danger. Sure enough, Justice Clarence Thomas called for the High Court to “reconsider” protections for contraception (1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut) and gay rights (2003’s Lawrence v. Texas and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges) when the Court overturned Roe with its ruling, announced on June 24, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Obergefell used the same right-to-privacy framework as Roe, and it established same-sex marriage as a national right just as Roe had made abortion a national right 42 years earlier. And Andy Ogles, the Republican U.S. House nominee in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, has been campaigning on overturning Obergefell.
During the GOP primary in that district in June, Ogles told fellow Republicans, “We are a republic of free states. So, California has the right to be liberal. Tennessee has the right to be conservative. What the Supreme Court has done with Roe v. Wade — and also, with overturning the New York gun ban — is standing firm on the 10th Amendment. The next thing we need to do is go after gay marriage. We need to revert that back to the states, so each and every state can decide her destiny.”
Ogles is hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Heidi Campbell, who is campaigning on protecting same-sex marriage and has been slamming Ogles for his comments.
Campbell tweeted, “If Ogles gets his way, states like Tennessee will ban same-sex marriage again and start discriminating against our families and loved ones.”
John Greer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University, believes that politically, attacking Ogles on same-sex marriage is a wise move on Campbell’s part.
Greer told WKRN-TV, an ABC affiliate in Nashville, “I think the tactic of the Campbell campaign is this is about extremism. Ogles is a little more of an extreme candidate who may not appeal to the more moderate suburban voters, especially in regards to issues like Dobbs.”
Chris Sanders, director of the Tennessee Equality Project, warns that the Tennessee State Legislature would ban same-sex marriage if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Obergefell.
Sanders told WKRN, “It would be devastating to a lot of families because a lot of them have built lives together. It would disrupt their income, it would disrupt adoption situations for them, it would hurt…. the lives of their children.”
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