Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear Tennessee Marriage Equality Case

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sixthcourt_appeals_smCINCINNATI, Ohio—Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear oral argument in Tennessee’s marriage equality case, Tanco v. Haslam

The three plaintiff couples filed their legal challenge in October 2013 to Tennessee laws that prevent the state from respecting their marriages and treating them the same as all other legally married couples in Tennessee. The couples are Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty of Knoxville; Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura of Memphis; and Matthew Mansell and Johno Espejo of Franklin.

The couples are represented by attorneys Abby R. Rubenfeld of Nashville, William Harbison, Scott Hickman, Phil Cramer, and John Farringer of the law firm of Sherrard & Roe in Nashville, Maureen T. Holland of Memphis, Regina Lambert of Knoxville, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Harbison will argue on behalf of the three plaintiff couples. [pullquote]Tanco v. Haslam is one of six marriage equality cases that will be heard before the court—the most marriage cases that any federal circuit court has ever heard in a single day since the United States Supreme Court’s decision last summer striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). [/pullquote]

Tanco v. Haslam is one of six marriage equality cases that will be heard before the court—the most marriage cases that any federal circuit court has ever heard in a single day since the United States Supreme Court’s decision last summer striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The other cases that will be heard are challenges to marriage equality bans in Kentucky (two cases), Michigan, and Ohio (two cases).

Since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision, every court to consider the issue has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, including federal and state courts in Utah, Ohio, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Tenth and Fourth Circuits heard oral arguments earlier this year. The Tenth Circuit issued rulings on June 25, 2014, and July 17, 2014, in cases from Utah and Oklahoma. The Fourth Circuit issued a ruling on July 28, 2014, in a case from Virginia. All three decisions held that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.   [pullquote]Since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision, every court to consider the issue has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, including federal and state courts in Utah, Ohio, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.[/pullquote]

Oral argument before federal Judges Martha Craig Daughtrey, Jeffrey S. Sutton, and Deborah L. Cook will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern today at the Potter Stewart Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.Attorneys and plaintiff couples will be available for interviews following the hearing at the Hayes Room on the third floor of the Westin Hotel, 21 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

Learn more about Tanco v. Haslam.

Read an FAQ about the Sixth Circuit hearings.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. 

[From a News Release]

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