Tennessee Judge Pulls a New First
FIRST, THE BAD NEWS: for the first time since the Supreme Court struck down the major provisions of The Defense of Marriage Act, a court has ruled a state's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.
Russell E. Simmons Jr., a Tennessee county judge, ruled that the state has a rational interest in Tennessee’s same-sex marriage ban and therefore it does not violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Judge Simmons ruled, “Marriage simply cannot be divorced from its traditional procreative purposes.... To conclude otherwise is to impose one’s own view of what a State ought to do on the subject of same-sex marriage."
NOW THE (POSSIBLE) GOOD NEWS: This decision is a direct contradiction of almost thirty court decisions, that have found there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, including two by federal appeals courts. It may be all the division the Supreme Court needs to weigh in sooner, rather than wait for the all the states to wade through the challenges to their marriage bans.