State Laws and Legislation

Tennessee Marriage/Relationship Recognition Law

Licenses marriages for same-sex couples? No.

Honors marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions? No.
Tennessee law states: “Tennessee's marriage licensing laws reinforce, carry forward, and make explicit the longstanding public policy of this state to recognize the family as essential to social and economic order and the common good and as the fundamental building block of our society. To that end, it is further the public policy of this state that the historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state in order to provide the unique and exclusive rights and privileges to marriage. The legal union in matrimony of only one man and one woman shall be the only recognized marriage in this state. Any policy, law or judicial interpretation that purports to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman is contrary to the public policy of Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry which marriages are prohibited in this state, any such marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.”

The state constitution declares: “The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.”

Any form of statewide relationship recognition for same-sex couples? No.

Citation: TENN. CODE ANN. §36-3-113; TENN. CONST. Art. XI, §18.


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Updated: Sun, August 29, 2004 - 11:00:05