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NC House Speaker says bill to reinstate same-sex marriage ban will not be heard

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Same sex marriages won't be affected by HB780, which GOP leadership says won't be heard.

The bill is basically dead, but critics of the proposal say it gives new life to North Carolina's tattered reputation.

"Marriage equality is the law of the land in North Carolina and the entire nation, no matter what half-baked legal theories anti-LGBT lawmakers try to put forward," ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Gillooly told ABC11. "This bill says to LGBT North Carolinians that there are members of the North Carolina General Assembly that are intent on discriminating."

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Three conservative lawmakers, Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Concord), Rep. Michael Speciale (R-New Bern), and Carl Ford (R-China Grove) filed House Bill 780 on Tuesday. The proposal, dubbed "Uphold Historical Marriage Act," asserts that the U.S. Constitution's states-rights amendment allows North Carolina to decide for itself what its marriage laws should be.

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In a statement to ABC11, Rep. Pittman said:

"HB 780 is about the need for the States to reassert their rights. As the bill states, marriage is not a federal matter. For too long, the federal government and federal courts have been allowed to overstep their bounds because the States have not had the courage to say no. Upholding the US and NC Constitutions means demanding that laws and court rulings do not contradict the very Constitutions we are obligated to uphold. I appreciate Rep. Speciale and Rep. Ford for having the courage to stand with me and say so."

The bill, however, will not be heard as it did not draw support from Republican leadership, including North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).

"There are strong constitutional concerns with this legislation given that the U.S. Supreme Court has firmly ruled on the issue," Moore said in a statement sent to ABC11.
Though the bill may have not a future, the controversy is making its way on social media outlets like Facebook, with many critics noting the proposal fits a narrative of North Carolina's perceived discrimination.

Brad Grantham, Associate Vice President of French West Vaughan, the largest independently-owned public relations firm in the southeast, worries the bill sends mixed signals just weeks after lawmakers repealed and replaced House Bill 2.

"I would argue the profile that North Carolina has right now - it's under a magnifying glass," Grantham told ABC11. "Every move made at the General Assembly is going to be scrutinized."

Notably, a spokesperson for Visit Raleigh said the office did not receive any questions or complaints about the proposed legislation.

House Bill 780 was also just one of more than 130 bills filed on Tuesday just before the long session's filing deadline. Other entries - which similarly have slim chances of ever being heard - include a controversial proposal supporting assisted suicide.

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