Fowler Calls High Court Ruling "Victory For Marriage In Tennessee"; ACLU, Young Democrats, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Applaud Ruling

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

David Fowler, president of The Family Action Council of Tennessee, on Wednesday said the decision of the United States Supreme Court on the marriage issue was "a victory for marriage in Tennessee."

On the other side, the Tennessee ACLU said it was a victory for same-sex couples.

Mr. Fowler said, "The Supreme Court today essentially preserved the status quo as it relates to the meaning and purpose of marriage.  It allows the states to define marriage.  

"In Tennessee, marriage will remain the unique, timeless, and universally defined relationship involving a man and a woman that provides the optimal environment for the well being of children.

"No doubt the day will come when the United States Supreme Court will have the issue of the constitutionality of gay marriage squarely before it, but until then the right of the people in their respective states to debate the meaning and value of marriage will continue.  That is as it should be."

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, said, "This is truly an historic victory for Edie Windsor and for legally-married same-sex couples throughout the country.  While the Tennessee Constitution prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in this state, striking down DOMA means that for those same-sex couples who married elsewhere, the federal government should now recognize their marriage.  

"DOMA was the last federal law on the books that mandated discrimination against LGBT people by the federal government because of sexual orientation. Today marks the beginning of the end of official discrimination against lesbians and gay men and an important step forward in achieving equality for all Tennesseans."

The ACLU also said, "The Supreme Court of the United States today struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, recognizing that it is discriminatory for our federal government to treat legally married gay couples any differently from how it treats legally married heterosexual couples. 

"The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states that even when a lesbian or gay couple is legally married under state law, the federal government has to treat them as unmarried and cannot grant them any of the federal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage.

"On March 27, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Windsor case, a challenge to Section 3 of DOMA.  Edie Windsor was forced to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. Edie and Thea were together for 44 years; after a decades-long engagement, they were finally able to legally marry two years before Thea’s death. Edie would not have had to pay any estate taxes after Thea’s death if Thea had been a man."

Ms. Windsor is represented by attorneys from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; the American Civil Liberties Union; the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

The Tennessee Young Democrats applauded "the decision by the majority on the Supreme Court to recognize the dignity and worth of all Americans and their right to equal protection under the law."

“This decision will have a real impact on the lives of thousands of responsible, loving couples across the country,” said Zak Kelley, political director of the Tennessee Young Democrats. “The Supreme Court has rightfully restored the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution that were taken away when DOMA was signed into law nearly 20 years ago.

The Supreme Court decision is a victory for the rights of states and those who believe in the American ideal of treating people fairly and equally under the law."

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner and State Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) are applauding Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision.

“Today was a victory for the dignity of men and women across the country who wish to enjoy equal protection under the law,” said Rep. Jones. “Most Tennesseans agree that couples in a loving and committed relationship deserve to be treated equally.”

In a poll released by Vanderbilt University, a plurality of Tennesseans showed support for marriage equality or civil unions. According to the poll, 49% favored full marriage rights or civil union protections.

“Polls consistently show that the American people are evolving on the issue of marriage equality,” said Chairman Turner. “This decision is a positive step forward for people who believe that a state should be allowed to recognize all relationships and be treated fairly by the federal government.”

The decision today in U.S. v. Windsor will allow all couples with state recognized marriage licenses the ability to access the more than 1,000 federal benefits these taxpaying citizens were previously denied. In the courts majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”


3rd Edition Of Popular Stokes Photo Book To Be Issued

With a second edition of the popular Stokes Photo Book selling out, Chattanoogan.com will publish a third edition of 1,000 copies. John Wilson, publisher, said, "We continue to get calls and emails inquiring about the availability of this remarkable Chattanooga photo collection. So we have asked College Printing at Collegedale to put the almost 600-page book back on the presses. ... (click for more)

Fire Damages Vacant Home On Camden Street

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a house fire around  7:30  Sunday morning at 2105 Camden Street. Captain David Brooks with Engine 4 said smoke and flames were visible when they arrived. The firefighters got the fire out fairly quickly. No injuries were reported. Captain Brooks estimated the loss at $15,000. The owner of the house told firefighters that ... (click for more)

Obama Doesn't Want You To Save For College

Over the past few decades, federal aid for post-secondary education has decreased and transitioned largely from grants to guaranteed student loans.   At the same time, the cost of college has far exceeded the cost of inflation creating a situation in which college has become less affordable and causing students to pile up debt that is at an all-time high.   This debt ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Great Peace Pipe

There is a serious rift between our state legislators and Erlanger Hospital that has me worried. If I worry about something, it doubles the power of the worry. My problem? I am convinced we have the best collection of people at the State Legislature in Nashville we’ve ever had – I adore each of them. I am also blessed to believe Erlanger is back on track and, after a sensational ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Earns State Duals Berth With 45-33 Win

The Notre Dame wrestling team is peaking at the right time. It's been an up and down season for the Fighting Irish and for the first time all year, they have a full lineup. And now they can start making plans for next weekend's State Duals in Franklin after beating East Ridge for the second time in three days. The Irish beat East Ridge by eight points on Thursday night ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestlers Top VMI, 35-3

Highlighted by a victory at 285 pounds in a battle of the unbeatens, Chattanooga defeated visiting VMI, 35-3 Sunday afternoon at Maclellan Gym. In the final match of the day (285), UTC's Jared Johnson (24-6, 4-0) edged Juan Adams (16-10, 4-1), 9-7. Johnson, who has now won eight straight, used two takedowns and a 2-point near fall to lead 6-1 after one period and needed ... (click for more)