by Steven Hale
A tweet from the Tennessee Equality Project this morning signaled that the march toward the state's own legal fight over same-sex marriage rights begins today.
The statewide LGBT advocacy organization said that same-sex couples in the state had begun applying for marriage licenses. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Tennessee, and so they will be rejected — the necessary first step for advocates looking to challenge the state's marriage laws in court.
TEP president Chris Sanders wrote for the Scene in June about just how long the road to marriage equality is in Tennessee. Unlike some other states, where shifting public opinion on the issue has been reflected by legislatures voting to allow same-sex marriage, the status quo is enshrined in Tennessee's Constitution by an amendment passed in 2006 defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. As Sanders notes, even if it were politically feasible, that couldn't be changed before 2018 without intervention by the courts.