Tennessee

STATUS:

Anti-marriage recognition constitutional amendment; in spring 2015, the United States Supreme Court will review an out-of-step ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals about the freedom to marry in Tennessee. Learn all about the freedom to marry at the Supreme Court here.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On January 16, the United States Supreme Court granted review of the out-of-step ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals about the freedom to marry in Tennessee. The case will be heard on April 28th, with a ruling expected by June 2015, which could bring the freedom to marry nationwide.

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. It is likely that this ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

HISTORY:

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.

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.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

POLLING DATA:

 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

Dozens of amicus briefs urge the U.S. Supreme Court to end marriage discrimination

Today, March 6, final amici briefs were filed to the United States Supreme Court urging the Justices to rule in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide.

Opening Briefs: Plaintiffs explain why marriage matters to the Supreme Court

Today, plaintiffs in the four cases before the United States Supreme Court will submit their briefs to the Court explaining why the freedom to marry matters.

Newlyweds celebrate their first Valentine’s Days as married couples

Every February 14, Valentine's Day serves as an opportunity for loving couples across the country to take the time to reflect on their relationships and show how deeply they care for each other.

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Resources Related to Tennessee

Tennessee Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Tennessee.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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