On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, ending marriage discrimination throughout the nation. This decision was quickly implemented by states across the country, including in Tennessee. Read more about the ruling here.
In 2006, anti-gay forces in Tennessee pushed through Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage. State statutes in Tennessee effectively disallow civil unions or domestic partnerships between same-sex couples by stating that marriage between one man and one woman is the only legally recognized marital contract.
In March 2014, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in Tanco v. Haslam, a federal lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights seeking respect for same-sex couples' out-of-state marriage licenses. The ruling, limited to the three plaintiff couples, means that the three couples were respected as married as the case proceeds. Read more about marriage litigation in Tennessee.
Marriage supporters across the state are continuing to speak out in favor of equality, working to overturn anti-marriage laws in Tennessee so that all same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry.
On November 6, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry. This ruling was heard by the United States Supreme Court on April 28, 2015, with a ruling expected in late summer.
On April 28, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the freedom to marry in Tennessee.
The United States Supreme Court granted review in the case Tanco v. Haslam on January 16, 2015. The review was granted after the 6th Circuit ruled to uphold the marriage ban in Tennessee in an out-of-step ruling on November 6, 2014.
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Tennessee Equality Project is a statewide organization dedicated to promote and sustain the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the state of Tennessee.
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights is one of the nation's leading LGBT legal organizations.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
Majorities of Tennesseans (49%) support the legal recognitions of same-sex couples, with 32% supporting marriage and 17% supporting civil unions. 69% of Tennesseans under the age of 30 support the freedom to marry. (Vanderbilt University, May 2013)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 10,898 same-sex couples are living in Tennessee, representing 4.4 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
Blog Posts Related to Tennessee
As we await the United States Supreme Court's ruling on the question of the freedom to marry, counties are preparing for the possibility that their marriage bans may be struck down as a result of the decision.
Today, May 29, Freedom to Marry launched a TV ad that follows the story of a man who's given his life to protecting his country in the United States Navy, and yet still lacks the freedom to marry in his home state of Tennessee.
This month, on April 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in cases from four states: Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.
Resources Related to Tennessee
Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Tennessee.
Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".