Supreme Court Gay Marriage Case Watched Closely in Tennessee

Mar 27, 2013

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Is the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that says marriage is between only a man and a woman constitutional?

The United States Supreme Court will be taking up that issue Wednesday.

Justices are looking at the case of a New York woman who sued to challenge a $363,000 federal estate tax bill after the woman she married died in 2009. Had Edith Windsor married a man, the estate tax bill would have been zero.

The case is being followed closely by Tennesseans on both sides of the issue.

Hedy Weinberg is the director of the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberities Union. She says the Tennessee proponents of gay marriage she has spoken with are confident the ruling in this case will move their cause forward.

“We’re not going to see a majority rule, and we might not see the broad ruling that we might like, but what we do know is that this kind of dialog is very important; dialog in the streets, in the legislatures, and at the Supreme Court."

David Fowler speaks for the Tennessee Family Action Council, an organization opposed to same-sex marriage. He believes the justices are keenly aware that they've placed themselves in the middle of the nation's ongoing culture wars, and will need to weigh their decision carefully.

“Whatever they rule, even if they say that same sex marriage is constitutionally mandated, or if they say that it is not, the cultural battle over this issue will not go away."

While the court will hear arguments Wednesday in Washington, their ruling on the case isn’t expected until early summer.