Rehearing Requested in Tennessee Marriage Lawsuit

FACT

The lawyer representing five Williamson County residents today filed a Petition for Rehearing regarding last week’s decision by the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville upholding the dismissal of the lawsuit in which the plaintiffs had asked Circuit Judge Joseph A. Woodruff to declare the status of Tennessee’s marriage licensing statutes after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

In filing the petition, the counsel for the plaintiffs, David Fowler, said, “According to court rules, rehearings are allowed when the parties ‘have not been heard’ on ‘matters of law’ that are ‘open to dispute’ and on which a court ‘relied’ in reaching its decision.”

In this case, Fowler said, “the court determined how Obergefell should be interpreted when the only question before the court was whether the plaintiffs had a right to be heard on the issue of interpretation. In other words, we believe the court decided the merits of the lawsuit—how Obergefell should be interpreted—without the parties being heard on that issue. We believe this creates serious due process issues.”

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