Appeals court rules Roane County same-sex couple can divorce

(WBIR) - A Tennessee appellate court has reversed a Roane County judge, ruling an area same-sex couple can divorce.

Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr. ruled in August 2014 that Frederick M. Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman couldn't divorce because the state of Tennessee only recognized marriages between males and females.

They had married in Iowa in 2010, moved to Roane County and then decided they no longer wanted to marry.

In his suit for divorce, Frederick M. Borman argued Tennessee's "Anti-Recognition Laws" regarding marriage were unconstitutional.

Frederick Borman appealed Simmons' decision. The judge had indicated the matter likely would have to be clarified at a higher level.

In the mean time, the U.S. Supreme Court took up cases challenging same-sex marriage bans. In June, the court ruled 5-4 that same-sex marriages were protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling effectively overturned Tennessee's definition of marriage and cleared the way for same-sex unions.

In light of the high court's June decision, state Court of Appeals Judge Michael Swiney, writing for a three-judge panel, reversed Simmons and sent the matter back to his court for "further proceedings."


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