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Tennessee Officials Seek to Defy U.S. Supreme Court on Marriage Equality

by Ryan Wilson January 14, 2016

Legislators have convened the 2016 legislative session in Nashville and HRC is already tracking a number of anti-LGBT bills.

The so-called “Natural Marriage Defense Act” (HB 1412)  seeks to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling by eliminating marriage equality in the State of Tennessee. The bill would place the burden on taxpayers to pay the cost for re-litigating marriage equality.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Civil Justice subcommittee on January 20.

Meanwhile, in Washington County, Tennessee, commissioners will meet on January 25, to discuss a county resolution, which also seeks to defy the U.S. Supreme Court ruling by upholding the anti-equality language in the Tennessee state constitution that opposes marriage equality.

These county commissioners are not alone. Already Sullivan, Greene and Johnson counties have passed similar resolutions opposing marriage equality.

This rash of defiance in Tennessee could jeopardize billions of dollars in federal funding, according to a Fiscal Note related to HB 1412. Additionally, if passed, state and local revenue could be negatively impacted.

The outrageous legislation in Tennessee is part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country. Earlier this month, HRC released new analysis previewing the state and local legislative battles in the year ahead, including anti-LGBT bills likely to be considered in at least 27 states. For more information, visit:

Ryan Wilson
Ryan Wilson


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