Four same-gender couples and their lawyers have brought suit in Tennessee in an attempt to force the state to recognize their "marriages" and invalidate a constitutional marriage amendment approved by more than 80 percent of voters.
By a huge margin, Tennessee's constitution was amended in 2006 to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman to thwart against challenges by homosexuals. Emboldened by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the homosexual couples filed suit in federal court last month to overturn the amendment.
Those couples, which are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, moved to Tennessee following their "marriages" in California and New York. Among the couples are two female college teachers and a full-time Army reservist and his "husband." All four couples moved to Tennessee within the last three years.
David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee is personally outraged that the couples are asking the court to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.
"Essentially we have people who, deciding where they want to live and all the other factors that go into that, decided to move to a state they know does not recognize the marriage they entered into in California and New York," he tells OneNewsNow. "And they're essentially asking the court to impose upon the people of Tennessee their definition of marriage."
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Eighty-one percent of Tennessee voters approved the constitutional amendment – a fact that Fowler says makes the case an issue of states' rights.
"It's [also] an issue of federalism and it's an issue of the people being able to control their own marital and domestic policy, which the Supreme Court this summer acknowledged was inherently and historically a matter left up to the states," he argues. "California and New York are free to have the definition of marriage they want, but the people of Tennessee should have the definition of marriage they want."
Fowler also points out that homosexual men and women have an option of moving to a state that does recognize same-gender marriage.
Pastors need not be concerned in the short run about a decision declaring their housing allowance unconstitutional – that's the advice from the founder of Liberty Counsel.