Tennessee lawmakers have proposed bills on "natural marriage," religious exemptions for counselors and state-defined gender restrictions that all attack the human dignity of people who do not conform to traditional norms of society, which had been until recently repressive against those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Judicial decisions, like last year’s narrow Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, affirmed the rights of any adult couple to marry, but it also welcomed a wave of reaction, fear and alarm that the rights of previously “unoppressed” individuals would somehow erode.

The reality is that it simply leveled the playing field on marriage.

Nevertheless, fights escalated in places like Indiana over whether a pizza parlor or bakery could refuse to serve someone based on sexual orientation with the approved, signed and then amended Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Tennessee lawmakers considered a special session last year to address the court’s decision with proposals like the Pastor Protection Act, aimed at shielding religious ministers from any legal sanction should they refuse to marry a same-sex couple.

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