Four same-sex couples have filed a Federal Court lawsuit against the state of Tennessee for not recognizing their marriages.
The couples held a press conference in Nashville on Monday.
They are from Tennessee, but they went to California or New York to get married.
The suit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
David Fowler, president of The Family Action Council of Tennessee, said the suit "is nothing more than an effort to force upon Tennesseans the definition of marriage in California and New York in complete disregard of the definition supported by 81 percent of the voters in Tennessee in 2006. The vast majority of Tennesseans then – and now – believe that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman.
"This lawsuit strikes at the very heart of the sovereignty of the individual states and the respect the Constitution provides to the states through the principle of federalism. In fact, this past summer, the United States Supreme Court, affirming its previous decisions, said, “Each state as a sovereign has a rightful and legitimate concern in the marital status of persons domiciled within its borders.
"New York and California may have the freedom, as sovereign states, to define marriage as they want, but Tennesseans should be accorded that same right.
"The Constitution does not prohibit the voters of Tennessee from determining what different cultures throughout history have found, that marriage between a man and woman benefits society in ways that no other relationship can. Tennesseans understand that men and women are not interchangeable parts when it comes to the well-being of children, and those children represent the future health of our state.
"We trust that an unelected federal judge will not impose on our state a policy that intentionally deprives a child of the complementary qualities that a mom and dad bring into a child’s life, and tramples on Tennessee’s sovereign rights."