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US: Tennessee lawsuit challenges state ban on equal marriage

Joseph McCormick October 21, 2013
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With the world’s media distracted by New Jersey’s legalisation of equal marriage today, a lawsuit to challenge the state of Tennessee’s ban on equal marriage was also filed.

The lawsuit, filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, on Monday, challenges the state’s ban on equal marriage.

Filed on behalf of two lesbian couples and two gay couples, all married out of state, the lawsuit seeks to challenge both the state law banning equal marriage, and the constitutional provision which stops the state from being able to recognise same-sex marriages.

The lawsuit argues that the plaintiffs’ equal-protection rights and due-process are violated by the laws.

The Supreme Court’s July strike-down of the Defense of Marriage Act was heavily noted in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit reads: “Tennessee’s categorical refusal to recognize the valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples has no reasonable or rational basis or justification and violates multiple guarantees of the Constitution of the United States.”

Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights noted that this lawsuit is the 19th to be filed since the DOMA ruling, and that very few were filed in the south.

“Tennessee is in many ways the heart of the new south, and the plaintiffs have all been treated exceptionally well since moving here,” he said. “I’m very optimistic about this lawsuit.”

The Governor of New Jersey today abandoned his legal challenge against the state’s same-sex marriage law – just hours after gay couples began tying the knot.

More: Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, New Jersey, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, Tennessee, US, wedding

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