University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Borman v. Pyles-Borman PB-TN-0006
Docket / Court No. 2014CV36 ( State Court )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
A Tennessee resident, who married his same-sex spouse in Iowa, filed this lawsuit in Tennessee state court under both the Equal Protection and the Full Faith and Credit Clauses, against the State of Tennessee. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, requested that the State recognize his out- ... read more >
A Tennessee resident, who married his same-sex spouse in Iowa, filed this lawsuit in Tennessee state court under both the Equal Protection and the Full Faith and Credit Clauses, against the State of Tennessee. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, requested that the State recognize his out-of-state same-sex marriage, so he could file for divorce in Tennessee. The plaintiff requested an injunction, challenging Tennessee's anti-recognition laws. He argued that these laws treated legal same-sex marriages as a special class singled out for disadvantages without any legitimate basis.

On August 5, 2014, the state court (Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr.) granted summary judgment in favor of Tennessee. The court held that Tennessee's anti-recognition laws did not single out same-sex marriages validly performed in other states, and therefore, did not violate the Equal Protection and Full Faith and Credit Clauses.

The plaintiff had relied on June 26, 2013, ruling in United States v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as an affront to the Equal Protection rights of same-sex couples. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675. However, in this case, Judge Simmons distinguished Windsor by explaining that the "Windsor case was concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applied to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one State must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another State." Judge Simmons acknowledged that marriage was a fundamental right, but held that the right did not extend beyond traditional marriage between one man and one woman. 2014 WL 4251133.

In the meantime, other plaintiffs in Tennessee brought a federal litigation challenging the same-sex marriage ban, in Tanco v. Haslam, PB-TN-0005 in this Clearinghouse. In that matter, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the marriage ban, but on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in Obergefell v. Hodges. 576 U.S (2015), making same-sex marriage legal in all states in which it had not already become so, including Tennessee.

Katherine Reineck - 03/21/2015
Beth Richardson - 07/24/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Full faith and credit
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) None on record
Plaintiff Description A same-sex couple, married in Iowa, seeking a divorce in Tennessee.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple‚Äôs 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion 08/05/2014 (2014 WL 4251133)
PB-TN-0006-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Simmons, Russell E. (State Trial Court)
PB-TN-0006-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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