Tennessee

Gay couples turned away at marriage license offices in three Tenn. counties

"I've never experienced this before, for a meeting to be adjourned before it even started," said Blount County Commissioner Karen Miller. Staff Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Same-sex couples in at least three Tennessee counties applied for marriage licenses on Wednesday in a project coordinated by the Tennessee Equality Project.

Couple making the requests left empty handed and were told Tennessee law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

Will Peyton and Jef Laudieri of Nashville applied for their marriage license at the Davidson County Courthouse; Stephanie Shelton and Lisa Cross of Mt. Juliet tried unsuccessfully to obtain a marriage license in Wilson County.

At the Shelby County Clerk’s Office in Memphis, Amy Barton and Lyndsay Gray walked away without an application on Wednesday, as did Aaron Thompson and Chris Snow.

Watch a report from WREG-TV:

The requests follow the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives gay couples who are legally married in states that allow it equal federal footing with all other married Americans.

In Tennessee, however, marriage between partners of the same gender is prohibited by state law and constitutional amendment passed in 2006.

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But Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld, who married under California‘s same-sex marriage statute, said gay and lesbian couples in Tennessee will eventually prevail in court, and that she foresees an end to so-called defense of marriage acts.

“I think we have pretty decent courts, the law is really clear, the Supreme Court decision was very clear,” Rubenfeld said. “Even (Justice) Scalia, in his dissent, said he felt it meant the end of all the state DOMAs.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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