A federal judge in Nashville ruled to recognize the marriage of three same-sex couples in Tennessee Friday. This comes after the couples filed a lawsuit asking the state to reconsider its ban on gay marriage.
"Judge Aleta Trauger issued a preliminary injunction against the state, saying it can not enforce Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriages." (Via WTVF)
"Now Friday's ruling did not say Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, however, the judge in this particular case believes the U.S. Constitution does protect the rights of same-sex couples." (Via WSMV)
In the order Trauger wrote, "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." (Via USA Today)
The ruling only applies to the three couples, all of whom were married while living in New York or California and later moved to Tennessee. WATE talked to one of the couples involved in the lawsuit who are expecting their first child.
"All of the protections and rights that any married spouse would have over their child. So it means an incredible amount to me that we can go into the hospital without me having to worry about having those rights in place."
The couple says they hope this is a step in the direction of overturning Tennessee's ban altogether — something that has some of the state's conservative lawmakers on edge.
In a statement Republican Sen. Mike Bell said, "I am saddened that a federal judge has chosen to, at least in a narrow way, overturn the will of over 81 percent of the people of the state of Tennessee who voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I am hoping that the higher courts — which I am assuming this will be appealed — will overturn this activist judge’s ruling." (Via The Tennessean | Tennessee General Assembly)
The Los Angeles Times points out Tennessee is just one of the many states battling to overturn same-sex marriage bans. Last week four Indiana same-sex couples sued for recognition.
The ruling is being reviewed by the Tennessee Attorney General's office, which could ultimately overturn it. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. currently allow same-sex marriage.