Tennessee

STATUS:

Anti-marriage recognition constitutional amendment; the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry on November 6. It is likely that this ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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 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

Legal teams from 6th Circuit cases will seek review from US Supreme Court

Less than 24 hours after the 6th Circuit's out-of-step ruling upholding marriage discrimination, legal teams for cases out of all four states announced that they would seek review of the ruling from the United States Supreme Court.

6th Circuit Plaintiffs Stand Strong in face of loss in court today

Today, the United States Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit upheld marriage discrimination in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

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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".

See All »