Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in Tennessee. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with Tennessee law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.
Although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in Tennessee are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.
Here is a run-down on Tennessee law affecting the LGBTQ community:
1 Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: Tennessee does not permit the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state forbids, both by statute and in its constitution, the recognition of same-sex marriages and other forms of same-sex partnership solemnized in other jurisdictions. The constitutional amendment defining marriage was approved by 81% of voters in a referendum in November 2006.
In March 2013, Tennessee Senate voted 32-0 in favor of the resolution SJR 134, which makes August 31 “Traditional Marriage Day” in Tennessee. In April 2013, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted 89-0 in favor of the resolution. In May 2013, Governor Bill Haslam signed the resolution into law.
Currently the cities of Chattanooga, Collegedale and Knoxville have enacted domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples. All are scheduled to go into effect in 2014.
On October 21, 2013, four Tennessee same-sex couples married in New York or California filed a federal lawsuit seeking to require Tennessee to recognize their marriages.
2 Adoption Law: Tennessee allows single persons to adopt children. The state has no explicit prohibition on adoption by same-sex couples or second-parent adoptions.
3 Anti-Discrimination Law:Tennessee law does not punish discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. In May 2011, Governor Bill Haslam signed the “Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act” into law. The act overrides an ordinance passed earlier in the year by Nashville’s Metropolitan Council that required city contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-discrimination policies. It also blocks any local unit of government from requiring that companies bar discrimination on any basis not already covered by state law. Despite this the cities of Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis, along with Davidson County have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Tennessee Board of Regents has established a policy of non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and for students, while the University of Tennessee System covers sexual orientation only.
Tennessee law has punished hate crimes based on sexual orientation since 2001, but the law does not include hate crimes based on gender identity.
4 Sodomy Law: The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the state’s sodomy statute unconstitutional in 1996 in the case of Campbell v. Sundquist.
5Public Opinion: A March 2013 poll by Middle Tennessee State University showed 62% of respondents oppose same-sex marriage, with 28% in support. A May 2013 poll by Vanderbilt University survey of Tennessee registered voters found that 49% of Tennessee voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 32% supporting same-sex marriage, 17% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 46% favoring no legal recognition, 3% said they don’t know, and 2% refused to answer. It also found that 69% of Tennessee voters under the age of 30 supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples. A separate question on the same survey found that 62% of Tennessee voters supported domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, 31% opposed, 4% said they don’t know, and 2% refused to answer.
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