A Tennessee prosecutor told a Christian conference that people in gay relationships aren’t entitled to domestic violence protections, Nashville’s WTVF reports. Craig Northcott said that since he doesn’t believe in gay marriage, there is no need to prosecute domestic violence if the assailant is in a gay marriage.
Nashville alternative newspaper The Tennessee Holler produced video this week of Northcott addressing an evangelical Christian conference, Dean Bible Ministries, in March 2018. Introducing himself, he called his audience “intelligent, discerning people,” and then called himself an “idiot.”
An attendee asked Northcott what we would do if the federal government did something “ridiculous” like legalizing same-sex marriage — though, in fact, the Supreme Court had already legalized same-sex marriage three years prior. Northcott responded by claiming that the entire country is essentially run by “five people in black dresses.” And as for how he would prosecute domestic assaults in gay relationships, he basically said that there’s nothing there to prosecute.
“The reason that there’s enhanced punishment on domestic violence is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage. And I said there’s no marriage to protect. So I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”
That’s not to say that Northcott would simply allow people in LGBTQ relationships to abuse their partners without fear of prosecution. Northcott said that he would prosecute domestic violence cases emerging from LGBTQ marriages as simple assaults, and not domestic assaults.
Northcott does seem to be overlooking at least one relevant fact — Tennessee’s domestic violence statutes don’t mention marriage at all. Instead, they treat all assaults between partners in a domestic relationship the same, whether the participants are married or not.
It’s a point of fact that Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project explained.
“Victims, survivors rely on those charged with enforcement of the law to protect them. And, in this case, it looks like we have a district attorney who is willfully… not protecting them fully,” Sanders said.
Tennessee DA says domestic violence laws do not apply to people in gay marriages https://t.co/2IzjHh7MR1
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) June 4, 2019
This is not the first time that Northcott has been at the center of controversy. As HuffPost reported in May, Northcott said in a series of Facebook posts that all Muslims are “inherently evil” and are not American citizens, and thus, not entitled to the same rights and protections afforded to all Americans in the Constitution.
“There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect,” Northcott wrote.
Muslim advocacy groups called for Northcott to apologize and resign; he has refused to do either.