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Federal Judge Denies Tennessee’s Request To Halt Recognition Of Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages

As of now, Tennessee officials must recognize three same-sex couples’ marriages.

Jay Paul / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has denied Tennessee’s request to put the state’s recognition of three same-sex couples’ marriages on hold while state officials challenge the judge’s original decision.

U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger issued a preliminary injunction last week, but Tennessee officials have appealed the temporary order to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, the state asked Trauger to put the trial court’s ruling on hold while the appeal is heard.

Trauger on Thursday denied that request, concluding:

The court finds that all four factors weigh against a stay and in favor of continuing enforcement of the Preliminary Injunction. Even if the court were to accept that there is arguably a “serious question” about the merits of its constitutional analysis, the defendants have not even approached their burden to show “irreparable harm that decidedly outweighs the harm that will be inflicted on others if a stay is granted.”

Unlike in December, when a trial court refused to issue a stay in the Utah marriage case, Thursday’s ruling does not result in same-sex couples being able to marry in Tennessee. The case is about marriage recognition — or, the state’s treatment of marriages granted to same-sex couples outside of Tennessee. Further, this specific preliminary injunction only applies to the three same-sex couples who sued the state, so the only couples who can have Tennessee recognize their marriages currently are the three plaintiff couples.

A message seeking comment from Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. was not immediately returned.

Read the court’s opinion:

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.
 
 
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