Arguments heard in two key hearings

Same-sex lawsuit is headed for trial

Posted 12/14/17

The case of a Bradley County commissioner and local pastor versus the county clerk appears to be headed for trial.Commissioner Howard Thompson and Kinser Church of God Pastor Guinn Green filed the …

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Arguments heard in two key hearings

Same-sex lawsuit is headed for trial

Posted

The case of a Bradley County commissioner and local pastor versus the county clerk appears to be headed for trial.

Commissioner Howard Thompson and Kinser Church of God Pastor Guinn Green filed the suit against County Clerk Donna Simpson, in her official capacity, to stop the issuance of marriage licenses for same sex couples.

Judge Mike Pemberton of Roane County presided over a special hearing Wednesday on a motion by attorney James Logan, representing Simpson, to issue a summary judgment in the case. A ruling in favor of the motion would have essentially ended the matter.

Thompson and Green have been working with activist attorney David Fowler, who has filed a similar suit in Williamson County.

Their argument has been that while the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to allow same-sex marriages, it does not have the authority to order state legislatures to change state law.

Fowler contends the Supreme Court ruling essentially voided Tennessee's marriage laws since those laws specifically define marriage as between a man and a woman, a definition which was also approved in a statewide referendum adding the wording in a state constitutional amendment.

Although Pemberton did not give a ruling from the bench on the motion for summary judgment, a preliminary trial date has been set for Feb. 20, should the motion be denied.

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