Four legally married gay couples on
Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to have their marriages recognized by
The suit, filed in federal district
court in Nashville, argues that Tennessee's laws prohibiting
recognition of the couples' marriages violates the federal
constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process and the
constitutionally protected right to travel between and move to other
The couples married in states where it
is legal before moving to Tennessee.
Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty
moved to Knoxville in 2011.
“Getting married not only enabled us
to express our love and commitment to one another, but it also
provided us with the protections we would need as we started our new
lives together,” Dr. Jesty said in a statement announcing the
lawsuit. Tanco is currently pregnant with the couple's first child.
Tennessee prohibits gay couples from
marrying by state law and a constitutional amendment which was
overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2006.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling handed down
in June led to the federal government recognizing the legal marriages
of gay couples, regardless of whether they live in a state that
allows such unions or not. The ruling has provoked dozens of
lawsuits throughout the nation similar to Monday's filing.