Tennessee

Relationships

NO
Does the state allow same-sex couples to marry?
NO
Does the state recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions?
NO
Does the state offer any other type of relationship recognition for same-sex couples?

The state constitution prohibits marriage between same-sex couples: “The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.”

State statute prohibits marriage between same-sex couples.

Workplace

NO
Does state law protect employees in the private sector from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?
NO
Does state law protect employees in the private sector from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression?
NO
Does state law expressly protect employees of state and local governments from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?
NO
Does state law expressly protect employees of state and local governments from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression?

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." 

Parenting

Miscellaneous
Who may adopt?

Any person. See 36 TCA § 36-1-115.

Miscellaneous
Second-parent adoptions:

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).

Bullying

YES
Does state law prohibit bullying in public schools?
YES
Does the law include cyberbullying?
NO
Does the law specifically mention sexual orientation?
NO
Does the law specifically mention gender identity?
NO
Does the law also apply to private, non-religious schools?
NO
Is there a state antidiscrimination law that applies (or may apply) to schools?

Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1015 (2012)

Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1016 (2012)

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101 (2011)

Photo: Alamy

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