A second lawsuit has been filed in Tennessee challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning bans on same-sex marriage, according to The Tennessean.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Bradley County. It says the U.S. Supreme Court cannot overturn a law and then decide what the law should be. That should be up to the state legislatures, the lawsuit says.
The case challenges the same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, when the justices ruled 5-4 that a definition of marriage as one man and one woman was unconstitutional and that same-sex couples could marry.
The case was filed by former lawmaker David Fowler, of the conservative Franklin-based Family Action Council of Tennessee. He filed a similar case in Williamson County on Jan. 21.
Note: Press release below.
News release from Family Action Council of Tennessee
Today, David Fowler, an attorney with the Constitutional Government Defense Fund, filed a second declaratory judgment lawsuit related to the legal, constitutional issues created by the United States Supreme Court’s decision on marriage June 26, 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The second lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court in Bradley County, Tenn., on behalf of a minister and commissioner residing in Bradley County.
The first such lawsuit was filed in the Chancery Court of Williamson County, Tenn., on Thursday, January 21, 2016.
The following statements can be attributed to Mr. Fowler:
“It is encouraging to see other individuals, authorized by law to solemnize marriages under Tennessee’s statutes, step forward to seek a clarification of the law since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell last summer.
“Given the civil and criminal penalties to which those who can solemnize marriages are subject if they do not comply with the law, it is quite understandable that they would want to know if they are still authorized to solemnize marriages if the law is ‘invalid,’ as the Supreme Court clearly held.
“These lawsuits have had the additional positive effect of helping an increasing number of Tennesseans begin to appreciate the important constitutional boundaries that the United States Supreme Court crossed in its Obergefell decision. They are increasingly beginning to see that, while the Court may rule a state law invalid, it cannot judicially impose a new marriage law on a state. When they see that this is what happened, they see the problem because they remember what they were taught in high school, that only legislative bodies can enact new laws or amend existing ones.”