Tennessee

STATUS:

Anti-marriage recognition constitutional amendment; a federal judge has ruled that the marriages of three same-sex couples must be respected in Tennessee, and the decision is now on appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

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 are 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.

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:

Support for the freedom to marry has doubled in the past 8 years, with 32% of the state's residents now supporting marriage. In 2004, just 18% were supportive. (Williams Institute, 2012)    

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

Litigation Round-Up: Where marriage cases stand in the federal appellate courts

After today's great victory in Ohio, it's a good time to check in on the state of marriage litigation across the country. In nine states, marriage litigation is currently pending at the federal appellate level in five different Circuit Courts.

Litigation Round-Up: Where the freedom to marry stands in the appeals courts

After last Friday's amazing victory in Michigan - which resulted in several hours of the freedom to marry in some Michigan counties on Saturday - it's a good time to check in on the state of marriage litigation across the country.

Federal judge rules Tennessee must respect marriages of 3 same-sex couples

On March 14, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that state officials must respect the marriages of three same-sex couples whose lawsuit challenges the state’s marriage ban.

See All »

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".

See All »