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Same Sex Couples Fight For Marriage Equality In Tennessee

Same Sex Couples Fight For Marriage Equality In Tennessee

CREATED May 22, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On the heels of Pennsylvania becoming the 19th state to allow same sex marriages, couples in Tennessee have continued pushing for marriage equality in Tennessee.

This week proved to be victorious for supports of same sex marriage, as Oregon and Pennsylvania joined the 17 previous states acknowledging same gender unions.

Matthew Mansell married his husband in California in 2008 before being transferred by his job to Tennessee, where their marriage was not recognized.

"As it moves forward it's nice to see other states following suit, saying it's not just an anomaly California has it and New York, it's starting to approach upon the Mid-West and Southern states,” said Mansell.

Mansell, his husband and three other same sex couples, married in other states, filed a lawsuit against U.S. District Court in Nashville.

"For 42 days approximately we were recognized as legally married according to the judge and then it was put on hold while they went to the merit panel of the 6th circuit court,” he said.

Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project said recent decision in Pennsylvania and Oregon are great for the larger cause, but have not immediate effect on Tennessee because of different district courts.

He also said unlike Pennsylvania, Tennessee is dealing with a state constitutional amendment over a statute.

"Tennessee has a state constitutional amendment, which means not only is it against the law, but it's a part of our fundamental law in the state and it's harder to overturn a state constitutional amendment,” Sanders said.

David Fowler is President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, which firmly stands against same sex marriages and law allowing the unions.

"Law sends a message. Law instruct us as to our moral values and all of the lawsuits acknowledge that is what is going on here, is what are we going to teach the future generation,” said Fowler.

Families like Mansell's said they want to win the fight, not just in the state they live, but for the entire country.