NOM Praises Judge for Showing Deference to Voters and Upholding Tennessee Marriage Amendment


Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)

"This important decision has largely been ignored in the media because it undercuts the narrative that same-sex marriage is inevitable. But it isn't." — Brian Brown, NOM president —


Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised a state judge in Tennessee who ruled last week that the Tennessee state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman does not violate the federal constitution. He is the first judge to uphold the constitutionality of a state marriage amendment since the US Supreme Court issued their 2013 opinion striking down a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"It is refreshing to find a judge who is willing to apply the federal constitution as it is and not reinterpret the constitution so as to redefine marriage," said Brian S. Brown, NOM's president. "Judge Russell Simmons is exactly correct when he says that there is nothing about the US Supreme Court's Windsor decision that would invalidate the right of Tennessee voters to define marriage as one man and one woman or require the state to recognize a same-sex ceremony performed in another state."

The Tennessee case involved two gay men who 'married' in Iowa four years ago and now wish to force Tennessee to grant them a divorce. But Judge Simmons wrote in his ruling, "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility."

A number of federal judges in recent months have misinterpreted the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Windsor case, which held that a section of DOMA was unconstitutional because it interfered with the right of New York to redefine marriage. The Court's majority held that regulating marriage has historically been a responsibility of the states and the federal government cannot substitute its judgment for that of the states.

"This important decision has largely been ignored in the media because it undercuts the narrative that same-sex marriage is inevitable. But it isn't," said Brown. "NOM is confident that when this issue reaches the US Supreme Court, likely within a few months, that the constitutionality of marriage amendments and statutes defining marriage as one man and one woman will be upheld."


To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

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