WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 26) — The U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage, SCOTUSblog reports. The 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finds that the court has long recognized the right to marry as a fundamental right, and that all of the same principles on which it has relied in cases involving opposite-sex couples should apply equally to same-sex marriages and the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.
The opinion also responds to several criticisms, including the argument that the issue should be decided by voters and that churches and other groups that oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds will be forced to perform or recognize those marriages. The four dissenting justices each filed their own opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts read a summary of his dissent from the bench – the first time he has ever done so.
Ruling Draws Mixed Reaction in Tennessee
- Gov. Bill Haslam said the state will comply immediately with the court’s ruling, and an email went out to county clerks about 10:30 a.m. saying they did not need to wait for further direction. "The people of Tennessee have recently voted clearly on this issue," Haslam said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has overturned that vote. We will comply with the decision and will ensure that our departments are able to do so as quickly as possible." Nooga.com has more.
- Attorney General Herbert Slatery held a press conference this afternoon, in which he expressed disappointment with the ruling but advised clerks to comply with it. "For the Court to tell all Tennesseans that they have no voice, no right to vote, on these issues is disappointing. The Court, nevertheless, has spoken and we respect its decision. Our office is prepared to work with the Governor and the General Assembly, as needed, to take the necessary steps to implement the decision.”
- Elected Officials Across Tennessee Respond to Decision (Daily News Journal)
- In its roundup of comments on the decision, Chattanoogan.com reports reaction from several groups opposed to the decision, including the Tennessee Pastors Network, The Family Action Council of Tennessee and the American Rights Coalition
- Area Officials, Groups React to Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
- Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Gay Marriage (WDEF News 12)
- Tennessee ACLU
- UT Legal Expert Says Decision ‘Puts to Bed Chaos' (Knoxnews)
- Legislators to Introduce "Pastor Protection Act" (Tennessean)
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, announced today they are working on legislation to protect pastors after the Supreme Court finds a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.
In localities across the state, same-sex couples sought and obtained marriage licenses. Here is a wrap up of reports:
- Chattanooga/Hamilton County
Hamilton County Clerk's Office Issues First Gay Marriage License (Chattanoogan.com)
- First Same-Sex Couple Married in Chattanooga (Nooga.com)
Chris Anderson To Reintroduce Protections For LGBT City Workers (Nooga.com)
- Cheatham County
Same-Sex Couples Can Apply for Marriage Licenses (Tennessean)
- Decatur County
Entire County Clerk’s Office Resigns Over Same-Sex Marriage Licenses (WJHL)
- Knoxville/Knox County
First Knox County Same-Sex Couple Gets Married (Knoxnews)
Knoxville Plaintiffs Speak on Supreme Court Decision (WATE News 6)
Hundreds Celebrate Same-Sex Marriage Ruling at World's Fair Park (Knoxnews)
- Maury County
Maury County Issues First License For Same-Sex Couple After Ruling (Columbia Daily Herald)
Maury County Clerk’s Office Closes Marriage License Station (Columbia Daily Herald)
- Memphis/Shelby County
Weddings Proceed In Memphis (Commercial Appeal)
- Montgomery County
First Gay Couple Waste No Time Tying The Knot Friday (Leaf Chronicle)
- Nashville/Davidson County
First Gay Couple Married in Nashville after Supreme Court Ruling (Tennessean)
- Robertson County
Robertson County Clerk’s Office Changes Marriage License Policy (WKRN)
Appointments Needed for Marriage Licenses (Tennesseean)
- Rutherford County
Clerk's Office Can Issue Marriage Licenses, Officiant Says (Daily News Journal)
- Sevier County
First Same-Sex Marriage License In Sevier County Issued To Oak Ridge Couple (WATE)
Local Community Divided on Supreme Court Ruling (WCYB Fox Tricities)
- Williamson County
First County Gay Couples Get Marriage Licenses Amid Mixed Reactions to Court Ruling (Brentwood Home Page)
CLE: Marriage Equality in Tennessee: Tanco v. Haslam
Want to learn more? TBA CLE is presenting a webcast on the impact of the case on July 2. Speakers will address the preliminary injunction, oral arguments and opinion from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the oral arguments and opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court. Other topics will include how the decision will be implemented in Tennessee, how the decision will affect Tennessee's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and how other states are handling these changes.
The TBA's LGBT Section also will focus on The Post Tanco World with the LGBT Law Annual Forum on Sept. 18.