We have fantastic late breaking news out of my backyard this afternoon. A federal judge has granted an injunction against Tennessee’s ban on marriage equality, while a lawsuit proceeds filed by four couples who were married out of state, and moved to Tennessee to find their marriages unrecognized. Three of the couples filed for an injunction on the ban that would apply only to them, while the case is being argued. The judge in the case, Aleta Trauger, granted that injunction today, saying:
“At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history.”
The judge’s very short ruling is available here. This bodes very well for their ongoing case. Tennessee is part of the Sixth Circuit, which also includes Kentucky and Ohio, where marriage bans have been struck down/weakened very recently. Congratulations go out to the NCLR and the rest of the legal team involved in arguing this case.
I must say this news thrills me a little bit more than most, simply because one of the couples listed are two of my closest friends, so a personal congratulations go out to Thom and Ijpe!
The NCLR has issued a press release:
Today, a federal district court in Nashville, Tennessee ruled that Tennessee officials must recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples who moved to Tennessee after legally marrying in other states. The ruling provides immediate protection for the couples while the suit they filed in October challenging Tennessee’s failure to recognize same-sex couples’ marriages remains pending. The court found that Tennessee’s refusal to recognize the couples’ valid marriages fails to protect them and likely violates the United States Constitution.
Tennessee now joins several other states—including Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Texas—in which a federal court has ruled that states must allow same-sex couples to marry or recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states since the Supreme Court’s ruling last June requiring the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. Every federal court to have considered such a challenge since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
In her ruling today, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger took note of these earlier decisions, writing: “In light of this rising tide of persuasive post-Windsor federal caselaw, it is no leap to conclude that the plaintiffs here are likely to succeed in their challenge to Tennessee’s Anti-Recognition Laws.”
The couples filed a federal lawsuit on October 21, 2013 alleging that Tennessee’s failure to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples violates the federal Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process and the constitutionally protected right to travel between and move to other states. The couples filed a motion in November 2013 to seek immediate protection while their case proceeds. In granting that motion today, Judge Trauger held that Tennessee’s laws prohibiting the state from acknowledging the equal dignity of the married couples’ relationships and families likely would cause them significant and irreparable harm, including because one of the couples is expecting a baby within days and urgently needs the legal protection and security of having both partners recognized as legal parents, as other married couples in Tennessee are recognized.
Click over to read the rest.