FACT seeks role in TN same-sex marriage lawsuit

The Family Action Council of Tennessee, a conservative Christian group led by former state Sen. David Fowler, wants to join the state in arguing against a lawsuit that seeks to require Tennessee recognition of same-sex marriages taking place in other states — New Jersey, for example.

News release from Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT):
FACT has partnered with the Alliance Defending Freedom to ask the court for permission to submit a “friend of the court” brief in the federal lawsuit filed in Tennessee by same-sex couples seeking to strike down portions of our state’s marriage laws — the parts that recognize out of state marriages only if they are between a man and a woman. 

The brief — called an Amicus Brief — emphasizes the issue of state’s rights, specifically the rights of each state to determine its own policies regarding marriage and family. (Note: PDF of the brief, HERE.)

In October, four same-sex couples filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Nashville asking the court for force Tennessee to recognize their marriages that were performed in other states. The filing immediately moved Tennessee to the frontline of the national same-sex marriage battle.  The brief sought to be filed by FACT and the Alliance Defending Freedom augments another brief filed by the state Attorney General’s office, which is defending the state in the lawsuit.

The ADF is a national organization that provides legal resources to individuals and organizations in challenges to family and religious liberty issues.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit is referenced in a New Jersey newspaper story about two same-sex couples from Cookeville, Tenn., visiting the Garden State to get married

The couples belong to the United Church of Cookeville, Tenn., a congregation that, like the church in Warren, openly welcomes gay and lesbian congregants.

Trinity United Church flies the gay and lesbian rainbow pride flag outside its white-steepled building and adopted an “Open and Affirming Statement” in 2009, which states that “God’s love, Christ’s church, and the Spirit’s power are for the people of every color, age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, circumstance and ability.”

…Rodriguez, 68, a former Catholic who joined the Cookeville church because of its “acceptance,” said he and DeVolder, 66, had not had a hard time being openly gay in Tennessee.

“I’ve had it easy to the point there was no bullying in my school,” DeVolder said.
Their community and church’s acceptance doesn’t extend to the rest of the state, which passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 prohibiting same-sex marriage. Tennessee law is being challenged in federal court by a gay couple who married in California in 2008 and three gay couples who married in New York in 2011 and who all live in Tennessee.