A county judge in Tennessee has upheld the state ban on same-sex marriage, breaking a streak of at least 30 consecutive wins for marriage equality in courts all over the country.
Ninth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. upheld both Tennessee’s ban on performing same-sex marriages in the state as well as a separate law banning recognition of same-sex marriages performed legally in other states.
“The Court finds that marriage is a fundamental right,” Simmons writes. “However, neither the Tennessee Supreme Court nor the United States Supreme Court has ever decided that this fundamental right under a state’s laws extends beyond the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one (1) man and one (1) woman.” …
Unlike other judges who’ve determined bans on same-sex marriage cannot withstand scrutiny following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision against the Defense of Marriage Act, Simmons determined the DOMA decision doesn’t apply to cases against marriage laws within the states.
“The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applies to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one State must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another state,” Simmons writes.
An appeals court recently heard a federal challenge to Tennessee’s marriage ban, so this is hardly over. You win a bunch, you lose one. It’s okay, team.