Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality, state and local officials can and should stop enforcing their marriage bans immediately. But it is possible that officials in some places may not start allowing couples to marry until the federal courts issue orders directly prohibiting them from enforcing their state or territory’s marriage ban. Federal lawsuits have been brought in all states that continue to enforce their marriage bans as well as in Puerto Rico, and we expect attorneys in those cases to promptly ask the courts to issue injunctions or to take other steps now that the Supreme Court has ruled. We know from experience, however, that this process can take a different amount of time in each jurisdiction depending on how quickly the courts move and how much government officials attempt to drag out the process. The process could be resolved as quickly as within a matter of days or it could take a bit longer depending on the particular jurisdiction.
All government employees are protected by the U.S. Constitution against irrational discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, some measure of protection already exists under Title VII based on gender, which has been held to include gender identity and expression.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and several courts have interpreted Title VII to protect transgender employees, and the EEOC has interpreted Title VII to cover sexual orientation discrimination. The Supreme Court has held that the EEOC's interpretations of Title VII are entitled to "great deference."
Any person. See 36 TCA § 36-1-115.
Some granted in a limited number of jurisdictions. No appellate decisions. Results likely vary by county and by judge. Anyone considering petitioning for a second parent adoption should contact, or have their counsel contact, Lambda Legal.
Recent signs of growing tolerance. Adoption by individual lesbian approved in In re Adoption of M.J.S., 44 S.W.3d 41 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2000). Sexual-orientation-neutral visitation standards adopted. See Hogue v. Hogue, 2004 WL 578593 (Tenn. Ct. App., March 24, 2004); Eldridge v. Eldridge, 42 S.W.3d 82 (Tenn. 2001) (affirming unrestricted overnight visitation for lesbian mother living with partner).
Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1015 (2012)
Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1016 (2012)
Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101 (2011)