A federal appeals court panel on Friday
stayed a lower court's ruling ordering Tennessee to recognize the
marriages of three gay couples, effectively invalidating their
marriages for now.
U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger
last month set aside the majority of her ruling ordering Tennessee to
recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples, ruling that it
only covers the lawsuit's three named plaintiff couples.
In putting Trauger's order on hold, the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said it acted because
“the law in this area is so unsettled.”
Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are
Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty, who married in New York before
moving to Knoxville in 2011. A baby girl born to the couple days
after Trauger's ruling became the first in Tennessee to have parents
of the same gender listed on a birth certificate.
An attorney representing the women told
the AP that she does not expect the state to challenge the birth
certificate as it pursues an appeal.
Since December, federal judges have
struck down all or part of similar bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan,
Texas, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
Earlier this month, challenges from
Utah and Oklahoma became the first to reach an appeals court.
court reviews challenge to Oklahoma's gay marriage ban.)