Gay rights advocates hope for same sex marriage in TN

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--It was Gay Pride week and on the last day, gay rights supporters nationwide are celebrating New York's same-sex marriage law. Some in the LGBT community are calling it "encouraging." But are same-sex marriages likely in Tennessee?
Members of the Metropolitan Community Church of Knoxville hope so.

"It's wonderful that New York has passed gay marriage. We've got a long way to go but it's affirming to know that we are on the right road," said church member Rick Sawyer.

Right now, Tennessee prohibits gay marriage. In fact some lawmakers were criticized by the gay community earlier this year for a measure that would ban the teaching of materials on homosexuality in grade school. It became known as the "Don't Say Gay Bill." But Reverend Jill Sizemore isn't discouraged.

"God loves everybody just the way we are. And we're not going to throw out gay. We are a gay people, a gay culture, with gay values, and we're just like anybody else, except we're gay," she said.

Within the walls of the church, that sentiment is strong. But on the streets, not everyone backs it.

"I don't think it's an institution I want to support," said one man who wished to remain anonymous. He said he hopes gay marriage isn't in Tennessee's future. "I don't want to sit there and pay for a lifestyle," he said.

For Sizemore, it's not a lifestyle; It's life...And death and taxes.

"Uncle Sam doesn't honor a Holy Union certificate when it comes tax time. Nobody cares about a Holy Union certificate when it's time to visit loved ones in the hospital. Those are things that are wrong," she said.

Things that she's confident will change. "We only have 44 more states to go, I hope Tennessee's next."

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