KINGSTON, Tenn. — A Tennessee judge has ruled that two men who married in Iowa and later moved to Tennessee cannot be granted a divorce because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
In his ruling, Roane County, Tenn., Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr., upheld Tennessee’s ban on same-sex marriage and said state laws now in effect don’t violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process rights, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.
“The battle is not between whether or not marriage is a fundamental right but what unions are included in the definition of marriage,” according to Simmons’ ruling.
That decision, the judge opined, “should be the prerogative of each state. That neither the federal government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens.”
Simmons said his ruling only applies to the case in question, where Frederick Borman is seeking to legally split from Larry Pyles-Borman. They were married four years ago in Iowa.