Tennessee gay marriage ban to go before Court of Appeals later this week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Four states, including Tennessee, are set to go before the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals this week to fight to overturn bans on gay marriage.

A couple from East Tennessee fighting to overturn the ban will be there for Wednesday's oral arguments, as well.

Doctors Valeria Tanco and Sophie Jesty were legally married in New York, but then moved to Knoxville. Tennessee currently bans gay marriage. The couple recently had a child, which has hurried their wants for the ban to be overturned so both women will have equal rights as parents for their daughter.

A judge recently granted the couple what's known as a stay, where they were temporarily granted the same rights as heterosexual couples while they go through the process of appealing the ban.

The couple's lawyer, Regina Lambert, said that Wednesday's hearing will be a monumental moment in the fight for marriage equality.

"I think the great thing, in my opinion for Tennessee, is that we're a southern state. And historically in the past, whether it's Brown vs. Board of Education or Loving vs. Virginia, southern states have a lot of times been on the back end of progress. And we're really on the front end, which I think is wonderful," Lambert said.

Six couples from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee will be at the hearing. Lambert said the Court of Appeals can essentially take its time in coming to a decision on which way to rule. She said that it's likely the topic will eventually make its way up to the Supreme Court, regardless of which way Court of Appeals rules.


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