A federal judge recognized the marriages of three same-sex Tennessee couples on Friday, issuing a preliminary injunction against the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
“At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history,” Judge Aleta Trauger wrote in the order.
The ruling only applies to the three couples who filed the lawsuit last year asking the state to recognize their marriages, which had been performed in New York or California. Tennessee outlawed same-sex marriage in 1998 and passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman in 2008.
Since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, every federal court that has considered challenges to state prohibitions against same-sex marriages has sided with the couples. This includes judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Texas.
The Tennessee lawsuit, which alleges that state laws prohibiting recognition of the couples’ marriages violate equal protection and due process and the constitutionally-protected right to travel between and move to other states, is still pending. Attorney General Robert E. Cooper issued a statement promising to continue to pursue the matter. “We are reviewing the decision and intend to take all necessary steps to defend the law,” he said.