Tennessee Republican Gino Bulso fights ban on cousins getting married

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Apr 12, 2024 at 11:36 AM

Reading time: 1 minute

American politics never ceases to amaze me. On Thursday 11 April 2024, Republican representative Gino Bulso took the stand and emphatically vocalised his opposition to a bill that would ban marriage between first cousins.

According to ABC News, the Republican-led Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly voted in support of sending a proposal to the Governor recommending this ban. Indeed, the final tally was 75-2. However, a majority of the debate time was taken up by representative Bulso who argued for an amendment to allow first-cousin marriages if the couple first seeks counselling from a genetic counsellor.

As indicated by previous reports, Bulso had mentioned in another committee hearing on the bill that his grandparents were first cousins who came to the US from Italy in the 1920s, and then travelled from Ohio to Tennessee to get married.

Therefore, it makes sense that during the floor debate, Bulso was the bill’s most prominent opponent.

Ironically, Bulso, who is an inherent danger to the LGBTQIA+ community and has been incredibly forthcoming about his opposition to same-sex marriage, argued that the bill should be dismissed because it “demonstrably violates” Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that established marriage equality.

Is this coming from the same man who introduced a bill that would ban displaying pride flags in public school classrooms? Make it make sense Gino.

Later on, during his statement, Bulso did go on to clarify that he thought the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage was “grievously wrong.” Ah, there he is! Another top moment from Bulso’s floor speech had to be when he noted: “The question is, is there a public health issue with a male marrying a male first cousin? And I think the answer is no.”

Ultimately, lawmakers decided to still overwhelmingly vote in favour of the ban. Democratic Representative Darren Jernigan, the legislator who proposed the bill, stated: “I hope it’s safe to say that in 2024, we can close this loophole.”

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