TN couples file suit to get same-sex marriage recognized in stat - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TN couples file suit to get same-sex marriage recognized in state

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Sophy Jesty and Val Tanco who are expecting their first child in March. Sophy Jesty and Val Tanco who are expecting their first child in March.
They are one of four gay couples in Tennessee suing to force the state to recognize their marriages. They are one of four gay couples in Tennessee suing to force the state to recognize their marriages.
In 14 states, same-sex married couples have legal rights that unmarried people do not have. In 14 states, same-sex married couples have legal rights that unmarried people do not have.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Four Tennessee couples are hoping to make history as they filed a lawsuit Monday to get the state to recognize their same-sex marriages.

"When we got that positive, it was one of the happiest days of our lives. Yeah it was," said Sophy Jesty and Val Tanco who are expecting their first child in March. "She is 18 weeks right now and she's beautiful on the ultrasound."

They are one of four gay couples in Tennessee suing to force the state to recognize their marriages. They were all legally married in other states, including a couple who moved to Memphis: Army reserve Sergeant first class Ljpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura.  After they moved to Memphis, the couple is no longer considered married.

"They've experienced a great deal of concern and worry and fear about their treatment of their relationship and the problems that might ensue with regard to property and taxes," said attorney Maureen Holland.
 
In 14 states, same-sex married couples have legal rights that unmarried people do not have.  In Tennessee if Valerie Tanco dies, Sophy Jesty has no right to their baby.

"I would not, legally, in the state of Tennessee, be considered the other parent of that child," Jesty explained.

In Tennessee, gay couples also lose out on tax benefits, family insurance coverage and have no legal right to make decisions or even see each other in a medical emergency.

"The hospital visitation really frightens us," said Kellie Miller.  "You're already in a situation where you're panicked and worried and there's and emergency and you never know what tomorrow might bring."

A federal judge will decide the case. Attorneys for the four couples hope that if Tennessee recognizes same-sex marriages it will lead to allowing gay couples to get married in Tennessee.

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