TN attorney general to appeal same-sex marriage ruling

As promised, the Tennessee Attorney General is asking the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a decision granting recognition to three same-sex married couples.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued a preliminary injunction allowing the marriage of three same-sex couples -- plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit -- to be recognized as their lawsuit against Gov. Bill Haslam and other state officials progressed.

In its argument, the AG's office points to a stay issued in a similar same-sex marriage ruling in Utah, plus says it won't irreparably harm the couples not to be recognized. The plaintiffs' attorneys particularly pointed to the plaintiffs Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty, who are expecting a child next week and fear the anti-recognition law could be used to deny Jesty access to her wife and child.

The couple should have used legal documents such as powers of attorney and "advanced (sic) directives" to protect themselves, the appeal says.

It also claims the state of Tennessee will be harmed by the ruling because it alters the status quo.

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Tennessee's attorney general will appeal a federal judge's preliminary injunction against the state's ban on same-sex marriage. He has also asked for a stay of the order pending the outcome of the appeal.

A lawsuit was filed in October on behalf of three couples who were wed in marriage-recognition states where they lived but, when they moved to Tennessee, found their vows were irrelevant. Last week's ruling only applies to these three couples, but it would mean their marriages would have to be recognized in the state.

Tennessee passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 saying marriage in the state is defined between a man and a woman.

"We intend to take all necessary steps to defend the law. We have filed a motion for a stay and a notice of appeal," said Sharon Curtis-Flair, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Attorney General's Office.


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