Federal judge says same sex marriage legal for three Tenn. couples

Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco
Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco

NASHVILLE (WATE) – A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction saying three same sex couples who sued the state of Tennessee can have their marriages recognized in the state.

The three couples, including Dr. Sophy Jesty and Dr. Valeria Tanco from Knoxville, sued the state last October saying their marriages should be valid in the state of Tennessee.

Previous story: Knoxville legally married same sex couple, others challenge Tenn. laws

Jesty and Tanco married in 2011 and say they knew things would change by crossing the state line, they say Friday’s ruling was simply rewarding.

A soon to be family of three over the moon with joy.

“Her family will always have been legally recognized and she will not know any different and that is beyond words,” said Tanco.

This same sex couple battling to have their marriage recognized after moving from New York to Tennessee.

More: Read the preliminary injunction

“I had a good feeling about today. A really good feeling,” said Jesty.

The preliminary ruling means so much more to the couple as they inch closer to their daughter Amelia’s birth.

“All the protections and rights that any married spouse would have over their child. So it means an incredible amount to me that we can go into the hospital without me having to worry about not having those rights in place,” said Jesty.

It’s a small victory as they wait for a final ruling. “It should be a pretty good indicator that hopefully will go our way in the end,” said Jesty.

The couple just wanting to give hope to those who may be in a similar struggle.

“Families look very different now-a-days but as long as there’s love in them then we’re happy with them,” said Jesty.

“And that is what this is all about ultimately it’s about the representation of our love. It’s not any different,” said Tanco.

The other two couples mentioned in the injunction are Ijpe Dekoe and Thomas Kostura, and Johno Espejo and Matthew Mansell.

The couples all formerly lived and married in other states and later moved to Tennessee to pursue careers and make new homes for their families.

The preliminary injunction only applies to those three couples, and is not a final judgment. The preliminary judgment does, however, say the state must recognize the three marriages until the court can rule on the case at a later stage.

However, the injunction does indicate that the court believes the three couples are likely to win their case.

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