TN same-sex marriage ruling by federal judge impacts many more - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TN same-sex marriage ruling by federal judge impacts many more

(WMC-TV) - A federal judge ruled the State of Tennessee must recognize three same-sex marriages because the couples that sued were married in states where gay marriage is legal. Local gay couples say the ramifications of the ruling will be far-reaching.

In essence, the judge ruled the couples that sued the state were married legally in other states and should therefore be recognized here. While the ruling only impacts those three couples, others say this will have long-lasting ramifications for everyone.

Will Batts of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center calls the ruling that lifts Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriage for three couples a "coup".

"We've had Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah in the last few months. They've all had similar rulings. We have 16 states now where same-sex marriage is legal," said Will Batts of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

The president of the Family Action Center of Tennessee, David Fowler, sees it another way.

"Assault against the rights of states, against the will of the people in those states and the institution of marriage," said Fowler.

Federal law recognizes gay marriage for taxes and other purposes, but some states like Tennessee choose not to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions.

"My husband I have had to get extra documents outside of our will: Powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney," said Batts.

Batts hopes momentum will continue and the courts will eventually allow same-sex couples to have marriage equality. Fowler says the ruling undermines the definition of marriage between a man and woman and will affect what's taught in the classroom.

"It will make it more challenging to discuss the issue of the value of children having a mother and a father and of avoiding behaviors that have high risk of sexual transmitted disease," noted Fowler.

The judge's order is only preliminary. Some in the legal community believe these three marriages will be placed on equal footing as heterosexual couples in Tennessee.

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