Pro-gun, antigay conservative state lawmakers in Nebraska found themselves in a rather precarious position this week.
The good ol’ boys in the cornhusker state were discussing the issue of granting military spouses the right to carry concealed firearms.
The current law allows nonresident military members to bypass a rule that requires a person live in Nebraska for 180 days before applying for a concealed gun permit. A bill proposing to extend that same exemption to military spouses came up for debate. And that’s where things got tricky.
While debating the issue, Republican Sen. Paul Schumacher asked colleagues how the bill would impact same-sex spouses looking to obtain gun permits given Nebraska’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, and his solution was surprisingly progressive given his party’s stance on marriage equality.
“Is not the Second Amendment sex blind? Color blind?” Schumacher asked. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”
Schumacher proposed an amendment that would extend the gun privilege to anyone, gay or straight, receiving the federal benefits of a military spouse.
That amendment passed by a vote of 38-0.
Of course, not everyone was pleased about it.
In an act of symbolic assholery, Republican Sen. John Murante refused to vote for or against the bill, claiming the amendment could be used to challenge Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage, which would be the end of the world.
“I think we just recognized gay marriage,” he grumbled mere moments after the amendment passed. “We are now using the federal government’s standard for who receives marriage benefits!”
The state’s ban on gay marriage is currently being challenged in a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court. The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to issue a ruling later this year that will determine whether or not states have the right to discriminate against gay people by refusing to recognize same-sex marriages.