Tennesseans bracing for same-sex marriage ruling

We may know as soon as Thursday if Tennessee’s ban on same-sex marriage will stand. Court watchers said a ruling from the United States Supreme is likely this week.

Earlier this year, the court heard arguments in cases from Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.


A couple from Knoxville challenged Tennessee’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Across Tennessee, same-sex marriage supporters said they’re optimistic. PFLAG Tri-Cities Media Relations Manager Beth Sluder said, “a positive ruling for it to be legal in all states is coming.”

But that’s not what Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and other Tri-Cities Republican lawmakers wants to see. Tennessee voters changed the constitution in 2006 to clarify marriage as between a woman and a man.

“The people of the state of Tennessee have voted,” Ramsey said. “I do believe that the definition of marriage should be one man and one woman.”

Representative Timothy Hill said, “defining marriage between one man and one woman- that is literally the definition of marriage in the state of Tennessee.”

But even like-minded opponents seem uncertain about what will happen if the court overturns the gay marriage ban.

“If they do rule that we have to recognize same-sex marriage, then we’ll have to figure out where we are,” Ramsey said.

“If they rule that, that’s what will happen Tennessee will have to fall in line with that ruling, which will have to change the way we do business,” said Representative Bud Hulsey.

Hill said, “from a Tenth Amendment perspective, and perspective of state’s rights and state’s issue, that the Supreme Court would allow the state to make its own decision.”

But gay rights supporters in the Tri-Cities believe public sentiment is on their side.

“It’s in the hearts and minds of the American public that we need to move forward on this decision and support the Constitutional rights of a large percentage of our population,” Sluder said.

Last fall, the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in Virginia by refusing to take up a court of appeals ruling that overturned the commonwealth’s ban on gay marriage.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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