Judge awards Tennessee lawyers $2 million for marriage equality case

Sophy Jesty, left, and Valeria Tanco, who were plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that guarantees a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, address the media at University of Tennessee College of Law Friday, June 26, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Sophy Jesty, left, and Valeria Tanco, who were plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that guarantees a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, address the media at University of Tennessee College of Law Friday, June 26, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. Adam Lau, Knoxville News Sentinel via AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to attorneys who helped gay couples in Tennessee win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that the results the lawyers got in the case were “superb and far-reaching” and that they should be entitled to costs and fees. The $2.03 million awarded in legal fees and expenses was 15 percent less than what the attorneys wanted.

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office had argued that the plaintiffs’ attorneys only deserved $1.1 million because of duplicated work, vague time-keeping and charging for attending news conferences. A Slatery spokesman said he had no comment.

In Michigan, lawyers representing same-sex couples were paid $1.9 million, while the attorneys in Ohio received $1.3 million, and in Kentucky they got $1.1 million.

The Tennessee lawyers who worked for the same-sex couples noted in court filings that they had already given the state a $1 million discount by not charging for more than 400 additional hours of work.

The attorneys worked for three couples who legally married in other states. They sued to challenge Tennessee laws that had banned recognition of their marriages.

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