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Judge denies stay in ruling that Tenn. recognize three out-of-state gay marriages

Friday, March 21, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge on Thursday refused to issue a stay in her preliminary decision last week ordering the state of Tennessee to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples while the case is proceeds in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued the preliminary injunction on March 14 barring the state from enforcing laws prohibiting recognition of their marriages, but said the ruling was only temporary and only applies to the three same-sex couples.

In her decision Thursday, Trauger found that none of the factors in deciding whether to grant a stay weigh in favor of the state.

“The court finds that all four factors weigh against a stay and in favor of continuing enforcement of the Preliminary Injunction. Even if the court were to accept that there is arguably a ‘serious question’ about the merits of its constitutional analysis, the defendants have not even approached their burden to show ‘irreparable harm that decidedly outweighs the harm that will be inflicted on others if a stay is granted,’” she wrote.

The plaintiffs in the case are three same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. Their lawsuit did not challenge laws barring same-sex marriage in Tennessee, only those that prohibit recognizing such marriages performed in other states.

The state had asked Trauger to put her order on hold while it appeals to a higher court.

Follow the case: Tanco v. Haslam.

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