News (USA)

Tennessee Attorney General says fight against marriage equality cost too much

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group of lawyers seeking $2.3 million for their work overturning Tennessee’s ban on same-sex marriage are overbilling taxpayers, according to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. Slatery says they only deserve $1.1 million.

The Tennessean reports that a court document unsealed last week shows Slatery arguing that lawyers who worked in other states involved in the historic civil rights case asked for less money.

The filing from the state says the legal team “ballooned to 19 attorneys, billing a total of nearly 6,000 hours.”

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger will determine the amount of fees the lawyers should receive.

The group argues that the large legal force was necessary because the state continued to defend the ban.

The state argues in a court document unsealed March 7, that the lawyers’ documentation of time spent working on the case is vague, and alleges they duplicated work and charged for things they should not have, such as attending press conferences.

In Ohio, lawyers representing same-sex couples were paid $1.3 million in a settlement. In Kentucky, lawyers got $1.1 million; in Michigan, $1.9 million, according to court records.

The lawyers who worked for the same-sex couples note in court filings they’re already giving the state a $1 million discount by not charging for more than 400 additional hours of work.

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