Tennessee Hub

Tennessee House Votes to Make Bible the Official Book of the State

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted this week to make the Bible the official book of the state, The Tennessean reports:

SextonDespite questions of constitutionality, lawmakers beat back an attempt to make Andrew Jackson's Bible the official book and voted 55-38 in favor of Rep. Jerry Sexton's original bill.

History's going to tell us where we stand on this. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to have the side that I'm on," said Sexton, R-Bean Station, after the vote.

"It may be kind to me in the future and it may not be kind, and that's OK. I made a decision for today and I feel good about it."

Although a GOP-led effort, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, was one of 20 Republicans to vote against the measure. House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, and four Republicans abstained. Only six Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has expressed his opposition to the bill. Gov. Bill Haslam has declined to say whether he'll sign the bill should it reach his desk.  

Gay Marriage News Watch: MI, KY, OH, TN - VIDEO


Matt Baume with American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on the four briefs filed with the Supreme Court by the four states who will be defending state bans on same-sex marriage - Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

The briefs, as Baume explains, are filled with "weird claims and arguments that just don't make sense."

Dive in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: MI, KY, OH, TN - VIDEO" »

Horrible Tennessee Mother Punches Son in the Face for Acting 'Too Gay' - VIDEO

Jacqueline Alexander

It's a story that conjures up ghosts of last August's case of Jessica Dutro murdering her 4-year-old. Last Tuesday Jacqueline Alexander of Memphis punched her son in the face while he was lying in bed because she felt he was “too feminine and too gay,” according to police. Her son, whose age and name haven't yet been disclosed, had bruises on his face when the police arrived, and Alexander was taken in on charges of domestic assault. Yesterday was her first court date.

According to Will Batts of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center, this kind of thing is commonplace:

It's shocking every time it happens, but it's not new to us at the center. We hear a lot of stories about people who are assaulted by family members. Young people who are kicked out of their houses when they come out to a parent.

You can watch a CBS News video of the story to find out how her neighbors reacted to the horrific news, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Horrible Tennessee Mother Punches Son in the Face for Acting 'Too Gay' - VIDEO" »

Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases



This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Cases.

Last time, we spoke about the importance of framing the case through the Questions Presented. I argued that despite some concern, the two questions posed in the Supreme Court's order do not indicate that the justices are looking for a way out. They are ready to rule. Before we discuss the substance on which the justices will rule, let's review the four cases that will decide the marriage equality question.


Continue reading "Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases" »

Nashville Private School Rejects Student For Having Gay Parents

Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard

And the trend of punishing children for the behaviors/beliefs/orientations of their parents continues. Davidson Academy, a non-denominational school in Nashville, TN had agreed to meet with Brian Copeland and give him a tour of the school where he wished to enroll his young son and daughter. Those plans were nixed, however, once school officials learned that Copeland was married to his husband Greg Bullard, and the decision was made that they would not allow Copeland and Bullard's children to be admitted.

After receiving an official rejection from the school, Bullard posted it to Facebook to illustrate that discrimination is still "alive and well" in Tennessee, which prompted condemnation from advocates and even alumni.

Read the letter, in part:

Any lifestyle conduct which is in opposition to the mission of Davidson Academy or which impedes the school's credibility with its constituency or the general public is unacceptable. One example of such lifestyle is homosexuality.

Copeland and Bullard do not wish to press charges or seek any legal action against the school, but are expressing frustration that it is "very, very hard" to find a private school that offers the rigorous faith-based education they want for their children that won't discriminate against a married gay couple.

You can read the official rejection letter AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nashville Private School Rejects Student For Having Gay Parents" »

What Happens If We Lose the Supreme Court Gay Marriage Cases?


The Supreme Court's decision earlier today to hear the four gay marriage cases out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee sets the stage for the the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans to be decided once and for all. 

With the high court's previous DOMA ruling in place and its refusal to stay lower court rulings bringing marriage equality to a number of states, it can be tempting to think nationwide marriage equality will be a sure bet this year.  

For precautions sake though, Lambda Legal's Jon Davidson has spelled out what will happen should SCOTUS go the other way:

DavidsonIf the Supreme Court were to rule in the cases in which it today granted review that the U.S. Constitution does not protect same-sex couple's right to marry and does not require states to respect marriages same-sex couples lawfully have entered in other jurisdictions, a number of issues would arise.

With respect to same-sex couples who already have married as a result of court rulings, Lambda Legal strongly believes -- as a federal district court in Michigan ruled just yesterday with respect to marriages entered in that state before the 6th Circuit's adverse ruling -- that those marriages will remain valid and will need to continue to be respected by the states in which those marriages were entered. Nonetheless, the validity of those couples' marriages may be challenged and those couples may want to take additional steps (such as executing wills, durable health care powers of attorney, and securing second parent adoptions) to provide them and their families extra peace of mind and security.

With respect to whether same-sex couples would be able to marry and would have their marriages respected in other states, that would vary from state to state. States in which marriage equality was achieved by a ruling under the state's constitution, by legislative reform, or at the ballot box, would be unaffected. Unmarried same-sex couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee (the states whose marriage laws the Supreme Court today agreed to review) would be forced to seek reform through the political process. States in which a final judgment has been obtained in federal court would be required to continue to allow same-sex couples to marry and to respect out-of-state marriages entered by same-sex couples unless and until someone with standing makes a motion to reopen the judgment and that motion is granted (unless stays are properly obtained before then). In some states, there may be no one with standing interested in seeking to set aside the existing judgment. Same-sex couples in states in which a judgment is on appeal or can still be appealed whose judgments have not been stayed should be able to continue to marry and to have their out-of-state marriages honored by the state until the existing judgment is stayed or reversed.

There's no question that it would be a mess. This is one additional reason why the Supreme Court should reverse the 6th Circuit's aberrant decision and hold that same-sex couples, like all other couples, share the fundamental right to marry and that it violates federal guarantees of equality and liberty to refuse to allow them to marry or to deny recognition to the marriages they lawfully have entered in other states.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of today's events HERE


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