published Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Tennessee gay marriage supporters encouraged by rulings in Utah, Oklahoma

In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, file photo, Gay Phillips, left, her partner Sue Barton, along with Mary Bishop and her partner Sharon Baldwin, right, toast during a celebration at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Okla., after a federal judge struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban.
In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, file photo, Gay Phillips, left, her partner Sue Barton, along with Mary Bishop and her partner Sharon Baldwin, right, toast during a celebration at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Okla., after a federal judge struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Supporters of gay marriage in Tennessee say they are encouraged by recent federal court rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that struck down state limits on same-sex marriage.

Although the judge in Tennessee is not required to follow that lead, the attorney for four same-sex couples who have sued here says she thinks those other opinions will be influential.

The Tennessee case involves couples who were legally married in other states before moving here.

Plaintiffs' attorney Abby Rubenfeld said the Utah and Oklahoma rulings show that people across the country are in favor of same-sex marriage.

The Tennessee Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The attorney general's office issued a statement saying, "Nothing in these two cases changes our position that Tennessee's laws are constitutional."

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