Tennessee State Supreme Court rules against ACLU

The Tennessee State Supreme court has ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU,) indicating that they have no standing before the court. At issue is a lawsuit filed on behalf of GLBT Tennesseans seeking to remove an anti-marriage equality ballot initiative from the November ballot on procedural grounds. The ruling means that the court does not consider ACLU to be a legitimate plaintiff and has ruled that the lawsuit brought by not only the ACLU, but also by the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) cannot go forward.

As a result of today’s ruling, the anti-marriage ballot initiative will appear on Tennessee’s November ballot. The amendment to the Tennessee Constitution, if passed, would permanently ban marriage for same-sex couples in our state. Tennessee already has a law making marriages other than one man/one woman illegal. That law was passed in 1996.

GLBT leaders cite concerns that the amendment will prohibit future laws enabling civil unions or other such legal relationships for GLBT couples and sets dangerous precedents making it constitutional to discriminate against GLBT Tennesseans.

“We will continue to move forward in our efforts to prevent passage of this ballot initiative,” asserts “Vote No on 1” representative Randy Tarkington. “By the end of the month we will have canvassed many areas from all three Grand Divisions of the State.”

 “Vote No on 1” will also be opening headquarters soon in Nashville, as a base of operation from which to further organize against the anti-marriage equality initiative.

“Tennesseans believe in fairness for GLBT people,” states Tarkington. “Many have real concerns about changing the Tennessee Constitution.”

For those waiting in the wings for the court’s decision, the time is ripe to engage in the effort to thwart the intent of those who would alter the Constitution. Volunteers and donations are needed to defeat the ballot initiative.

“It is time to get off the sidelines and get into the game,” urges Tarkington.

In related events today, Tennessee Equality Project President Chris Sanders has announced that the “Vote No on 1” Campaign will open their doors to the public at a new office on Church Street in Nashville. The office will be the statewide headquarters for a full campaign to defeat the anti-marriage equality amendment at the polls this coming November. It will serve as a hub for activities not only in Nashville, but for Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, Jackson, Memphis, and all points in between.

Meanwhile, door-to-door canvassing efforts are planned this month as activists take to the streets to speak with their friends and neighbors regarding this important issue.

“We have signed a lease for an office on Church Street in the space previously occupied by the OutLoud bookstore,” says Sanders. “We look forward to moving forward in our efforts to reject the constitutional ban on protections for same-sex couples.”

For further information on the “Vote No on 1” campaign, volunteer, or contribution, visit their Web site at www.votenoon1tn.com or call (615) 664-6886.

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