Tenn. lesbian couple get divorce after politically charged battle

May 10, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lesbian couple have received a divorce decree after a custody battle that was targeted by dozens of conservative Tennessee lawmakers who tried to intervene in the case.

The same-sex divorce and custody case became a political flashpoint after a Knoxville judge initially ruled that one of the women had no parental rights to a child conceived by artificial insemination because she did not meet the legal definition of "husband."

The judge changed his mind, granted the divorce and approved a plan for Sabrina and Erica Witt to split custody.

But the divorce came May 2 as the state Legislature was pushing through a bill that gay rights groups say encourages judges to deny rights to same-sex couples when defining words such as "husband" and "wife" or "father" and "mother."