A man who fought for the right to marry his laptop is behind legislation in at least two states which seeks to reclassify same-sex unions as “parody marriages.”
In the past month, the states of South Carolina and Wyoming have introduced nearly identical legislation aiming to invalidate marriage equality by labeling them as fraudulent. The more extreme of the two bills claims same-sex marriage is part of an effort by secular humanists to “infiltrate and indoctrinate minors in public schools.”
South Carolina’s House Bill 4949 charges that because LGBTQ unions serve a religious agenda (i.e., that of secular humanism), they should be illegal under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids the government from favoring one religion over another.
“[T]he State of South Carolina shall no longer respect, endorse, or recognize any form of parody marriage policy because parody marriage policies are non-secular,” reads House Bill 4949.
Sponsored by Republican legislators Mike Burns, William Chumley, Steven Long, Josiah Magnuson, Rick Martin, and John McCravy, that’s not the only unusual claim made in HB 1949. The bill refers to sexual orientation as a “sex-based identity narrative that is based on a series of naked assertions and unproven faith-based assumptions” and would invalidate local nondiscrimination laws preventing bias against LGBTQ people.
“[T]he State of South Carolina shall no longer enforce, recognize, or respect any policy that treats sexual orientation as a suspect class because all such statutes lack a secular purpose,” the legislation adds.
Wyoming’s House Bill 0167, which was introduced on Valentines’ Day, claims same-sex marriages “fail to check out with the human design.”
“All forms of parody marriage erode community standards of decency, and this state has a compelling interest to uphold community standards of decency as set forth under the Wyoming Constitution,” reads the bill, which was introduced by State House Rep. Lars O. Lone.
Both known as the “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act,” the two bills are the brainchild of anti-LGBTQ activist Chris Sevier.
An EDM artist and former attorney, Sevier has repeatedly trolled state courts with outlandish lawsuits intended to mock marriage equality. The 40-year-oldwho says his sexual orientation is a “machinist”claimed it was discriminatory for the states of Alabama, Colorado, Texas, and Utah to prevent him from marrying his computer.
In the Alabama suit, Sevier further alleged it was “procedurally arbitrary” for the state to issue “marriage licenses to individuals who self-identify as homosexual” and yet refuse the same relationship recognition to “zoophiles, machinists, and polygamists.”
He has referred to his laptop in court filings as his “bride.”
His frequent litigation trolling, however, has brought to light allegations of extreme personal misconduct. Sevier has been accused of stalking both a 17-year-old girl and country music star John Rich, whom he has compared to Adolf Hitler. He reportedly assaulted his ex-father-in-law during a custody dispute in which he is alleged to have attempted to kidnap his own child.
The seven-year-old was “injured in the altercation and taken to the ER,” reported The Daily Beast last year.
Lest Republicans in South Carolina and Wyoming attempt to distance themselves from Sevier’s sordid history, he already took credit for the legislation. Sevierwho also goes by the names Mark Sevier and Chris Severeposted on a Facebook account linked to the latter alias that he co-authored the “parody marriage” bills.
“Rep. Steven W [sic] Long (SC), Rep. Lars O. Lone (WY), and I wrote an act entitled the ‘Marriage And Constitution Restoration Act,’” he claimed. “Both acts were introduced in both States [sic] today.”
“This bill does exactly what the title of it say [sic],” Sevier added in the Feb. 15 post. “It’s [sic] introduction will compel the Federal Government [sic] and most of the other states to get on board. We care deeply care [sic] about marriages, families, children, rule of law, and Constitutional integrity.”
He plans to introduce similar legislation in all 50 states.
The novel anti-LGBTQ bills, however, may not survive the two legislatures in which it has already been introduced. HB 4949 is currently being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee, and lawmakers have claimed it is unlikely to go forward.
“We have numerous other more pressing issues before us on this committee,” Democratic state Rep. Beth Bernstein told South Carolina’s Post and Courier.