Tennessee

Couples in Tenn. same-sex marriage lawsuit seek injunction

From left: Plaintiffs Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty, John Espejo and Matthew Mansell, Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez (Sgt. First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura not pictured.) Staff Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Four same-sex couples are asking a federal judge for a preliminary injunction that would force Tennessee to recognize their marriages.

The couples filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville last month challenging Tennessee laws that prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages. They claim in court filings that the laws violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

From left: Plaintiffs Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty, John Espejo and Matthew Mansell, Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez (Sgt. First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura not pictured.)

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
From left: Plaintiffs Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty, John Espejo and Matthew Mansell, Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez (Sgt. First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura not pictured.)

The request for the injunction would apply only to the four couples who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. If approved, it would be in effect while their case works its way through the courts.

The couples, who include a full-time Army reservist and his husband and two professors of veterinary medicine, all formerly lived and married in other states and later moved to Tennessee to pursue careers and make new homes for their families.

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The lawsuit argues that Tennessee’s laws prohibiting recognition of the couples’ marriages violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process and the constitutionally protected right to travel between and move to other states.

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office said in an email that attorneys there are reviewing the filing and are prepared to defend Tennessee law and the state constitution.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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