County commissioners across region to consider proposal defying gay marriage ruling

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – County commissioners throughout the region will soon vote to defy an historic ruling from the nation’s highest court that recognized same-sex marriage across the nation.

In June of last year, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a right granted under the U.S. Constitution.

This month, Washington, Unicoi, Carter, and Hawkins counties will vote on similar resolutions, defying a ruling by the supreme court on same-sex marriage.

Carter County Commissioner Robert Carroll said he really wasn’t surprised by the timing, since other counties like Sullivan and Greene have already passed similar resolutions.

Carroll said he also recently received a copy of a resolution passed by Sullivan County commissioners about same-sex marriage.

Carroll said it was attached to a letter from a citizen, encouraging Carter County to do the same.

“The date of the letter is December 21st, I guess I was kind of surprised to get it,” Carroll said.

It was an idea Carroll said he agreed with.

“Well I hope this resolution will send a strong message to our government in Nashville and that it will go beyond that and go to D.C, and I don’t believe the supreme court judges had any business making this decision,” Carroll said.

We also spoke to Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project over the phone on Wednesday.

“Local government is designed to provide basic services, fund school systems, and with these resolutions, they are actually attacking a segment of their population,” Sanders said.

To show support for marriage equality, some people are planning to wear red to these commission meetings.

More than 80 people have already signed up for Washington County’s meeting, one of those is Beth Sluder.

“The resolutions are pointless, they are essentially the legislative equivalent of a tantrum. We want to show them by numbers, by sight at an easy glance there’s quite a few of us out here that don’t agree with what they are doing,” Sluder said.

In Carter County, when we asked commissioner Carroll if he thought the measure would pass, he said yes.

“Most of the commissioners are older and more mature people, and they are traditional in their beliefs,” Carroll said.

“I mean putting their words down on paper, if it makes themselves feel a lot better about themselves, and I don’t know how it should, then I guess that’s what they are going to do,” Sluder said.

Carter County commissioners will vote on the issue next week, while Washington and Hawkins counties will hold their vote later this month.

Copyright WJHL 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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