Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban has survived a constitutional challenge in court, the first prohibition to withstand such a challenge in almost 14 months.
Roane County Circuit Judge Russell Simmons ruled that “neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility," in ruling from last Tuesday, SCOTUSblog reports.
More than two dozen federal and state court rulings since the Supreme Court's United States v. Windsor decision in June 2013 have successfully challenged and/or nullified bans. Simmons' ruling rejects both a claim of discrimination and a claim that the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause forces the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
“The Supreme Court does not go the final step and find that a state that defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional," Simmons wrote. "Further, the Supreme Court does not find that one state’s refusal to accept another state’s valid same-sex marriage to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
Simmons' ruling only formally addressed and upheld the part of Tennessee's ban that doesn't recognize pre-existing same-sex marriages from other states, though this aspect is now being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.