Circuit judge expected to rule on same-sex divorce case

The case involving a same-sex couple who wants a divorce in Tennessee is now in the hands of a Roane County circuit court judge. 6-27-14

(WBIR-Kingston) Circuit Court judge Russell Simmons said he will make a written ruling whether to allow the divorce proceedings of an East Tennessee same-sex couple to take place.

Currently, Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages. So if the judge allows the divorce of Frederick Borman and Larry Pyles-Borman, the attorney general's office argues the state would technically recognize the partnership.

"There are cases in state court in Texas and Nebraska where same-sex couples are being asked for divorces," said Mark Foster, the attorney representing Frederick Borman.

The attorney general's office was in court Friday arguing the legal ramifications of this potential decision.

"As shown by our pleadings, we believe that Tennessee marriage laws are fully constitutional, and we will await the court's decision," said assistant Attorney General Kathryn Baker.

If Judge Simmons allows the divorce to happen, then it could set a precedence for states to recognize same-sex marriages in other states, including Tennessee.

"Could make medical decisions for him if he's incapacitated and there's also laws governing inheritance and all kinds of laws that can apply to marriages," Foster added.

There's no word yet when that written ruling will be made public.


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