By Michael Gryboski
A judge has ruled that Tennessee’s constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage is legal, breaking a streak of judicial losses for the traditional marriage side.
Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr. ruled last week against the claim that the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
In his decision, Simmons cited the 1972 case Baker v. Nelson, a lesser known decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court, arguing that gay marriage is not a fundamental right.
“Baker holds that a state’s law on same-sex marriage does not violate the equal protection or substantive due process rights under the United States Constitution,” wrote Simmons in his memorandum opinion.
“Although the United States Supreme Court has had opportunities to overrule the Baker decision, it has refused to take that position even in the decision on which the plaintiff relies, which is United States v. Windsor.”