Same-sex Couples Seek TN Marriage License With Lawsuit in Mind

Same-sex couples in at least three Tennessee counties tried to get marriage licenses Wednesday, striding into county clerks’ offices, their faces lit up by camera flashes as they made state history, reports The Tennessean.

But because same-sex marriage is illegal in Tennessee, they left empty-handed.

Will Peyton and Jef Laudieri of Nashville said they weren’t surprised by the rejection, just at how much it hurt…. They hope to be part of a lawsuit that could force Tennessee to allow their future marriage, similar to suits recently filed in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Before the Davidson County Clerk’s office opened Wednesday, Peyton and Laudieri met up with Nina Pacent and Renee Kasman, a Bellevue couple legally married in June in White Plains, N.Y.

Within minutes, the group was in front of Tara Marks’ desk inside the county clerk’s office, being read to in a trembling voice from a manual prepared for this occasion.
“Tennessee statute prohibits marriage between two people of the same sex,” Marks read.

… Abby Rubenfeld, a Nashville attorney who wed under California’s same-sex marriage law, said she anticipates finding success in the courts.

“I think we have pretty decent courts, the law is really clear, the Supreme Court decision was very clear. Even (Justice) Scalia, in his dissent, said he felt it meant the end of all the state DOMAs.”

She said Tennessee couples find themselves in a variety of situations that must be addressed: those who legally married elsewhere who make their homes in Tennessee, those who married elsewhere but now need to divorce and can’t, and those who have never been married anywhere.

And from the Commercial Appeal:
Two same sex couples applied for marriage licenses at the Shelby County Clerk’s office Wednesday morning but were, as they anticipated, denied in accordance with the state’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage.

Organized by the Tennessee Equality Project, it was an act intended partly to raise awareness about the inability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples to marry in their home state.

…But it was also a first step in possibly bringing legal action against the state.

“The first step is to be turned down,” said Aaron Thompson, who tried to apply for a marriage license with Chris Snow.