SC legislators propose ‘parody marriage’ bill that defines marriage as between a man, woman only

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Several South Carolina legislators proposed a bill on Feb. 15 that would define marriage as one man and one woman, and anything else would be classified as a "parody marriage."

That term is not sitting well with some members of the community.

Grand Strand Pride's co-founder, Terry Livingston, has been with his husband for 34 years and married for four years. He said he was shocked and couldn't believe the bill was real when he first read it.

"For the state to even think about defining my marriage as a ridiculous imitation, that can't be farther from the truth. It's the real thing to us," Livingston said.

Livingston, along with others in the community, feel the proposed bill takes a step back in time instead of moving forward. In literature, the term "parody" is referred as an, "exaggeration for comic effect"

"I mean, when you think of parodies you think of shows like - my husband and I were just talking about it – 'Saturday Night Live.' That's a parody," Livingston said. "To use that word in a bill, that's just unreal to us. The only thing I can think behind it is it's just hateful."

Julinna Oxley, associate professor of philosophy at Coastal Carolina University, said she talks about this topic in her Introduction to Philosophy class.

According to Oxley, to say a type of marriage is imitating or mimicking a "true" marriage is a philosophical claim.

"You're making a claim about what you take a true marriage to be and what you take a false marriage to be. The problem is they didn't really lay out a criteria of what determines a false marriage and true marriage, other than that (it) has to be between a man and a woman," Oxley said.

She said in order to generate that argument, an explanation is needed on why a marriage between a man and woman should be the only type that is endorsed.

"I think it really speaks to the idea that they are worried that homosexual relationships are going to be considered normal, and they don't want it to be normalized and so it speaks to this worry that marriage and the meaning of our relationships is going to change," Oxley said.

The history of marriage has changed a lot in the course of time, from a religious, social, and legal institution. Livingston doesn't think the bill will survive.

"This bill that's been introduced, they even cite the Jim Obergefell decision and that's the same decision that's going to defeat this bill, as it being unconstitutional. So, the bill itself is a parody," Livingston said.

He added this not only affects the LGBT community, but major corporations as well.

"Things like this is also bad for the state when you are trying to recruit big manufacturers like South Carolina tries to do," Livingston said. "Manufacturers, when they look to move into a state, they look at bills like this and how welcoming the community is because they understand the importance of a diverse workplace, and bills like this would make it very hard for them to have that."

WMBF News reached out to the six South Carolina legislators sponsoring this bill and have not heard back from any of them yet.

WMBF News conducted a Facebook poll asking if our viewers supported the bill. Sixty-six percent of responders (80 people) said they do not support it, while 33 percent (40 people) did.

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