Court stays recognition of 3 same-sex couples in Tennessee


Late Friday, a federal appeals court issued a stay in last month's ruling that Tennessee must recognize the out-of-state marriages of three same-sex couples.

In its ruling, the court said that it was in the public interest to transfer "this case to a merits panel for expedited consideration––so that the merits panel can assess whether a stay should remain in effect, and address the substantive issues in this case." See the full stay order here.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited Tennessee from barring recognition of the plaintiffs' out-of-state marriages. Trauger refused to stay her decision but noted the injunction only applied to the three same-sex couples named in the lawsuit and was only preliminary while their case made its way through the federal court system.

Plaintiffs Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty gave birth to their first child in late March, and became the first Tennessee family to have two mother's listed on their birth certificate. Although Tennessee birth certificates are not gender-neutral, Jesty was listed under father.

While it's not yet clear what Friday's decision means for the couple's family, an appeals ruling against the couple would likely void Emilia’s birth certificate and require that it be reissued with only Tanco listed.