State legislature defined marriage as between man and woman

By Lesley Jenkins
Star staff
ljenkins@starhq.com

   Senator Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Representative Jerome Cochran, R-Elizabethton, met with local members of the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce at their annual legislative breakfast Friday to participate in a question-and-answer session.
   One question asked of Crowe and Cochran was if Tennessee has any legislation to prevent the recognition of gay marriages that occurred in other states.
   Crowe said the legislature does protect the definition of marriage.
   "Years ago (former) Sen.(Jim) Holcomb (R-Bluff City) passed legislation before he left that defines Tennessee marriage as between a man and a woman. That is there in Tennessee, and I think this legislature listens to its people and reflects the feelings of the population who know that the Tennessee delegation is very strong in maintaining that perspective and that ideal. I think that you will see the majority of the rest of the Senate take that lead as well.
   "The House might be a little more difficult because there is a little bit more diversity there. You are going to see Tennessee upholding that principle that marriage is between a man and a woman," Crowe said.
   Cochran said, "I totally agree with Senator Crowe that Tennessee has a definitive marriage act."
   Cochran said the legislation defining marriage between a man and a woman passed in 1996 and could soon be threatened by a couple who received a marriage license in California in February and recently moved to Chatanooga.
   The couple attempted to get the license recognized in Tennessee, but were denied. The gay couple announced they would challenge the definition, according to Cochran.
   "It is my hope though that the courts will rule in our favor, " Cochran said.
   In California, the Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex marriages on March 11. Over 4,100 gay couples have married at San Fransisco City Hall over the last month.
   The court put a stop to the marriages until May or June when it will hear arguments on whether San Fransisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was crossing bounds when he allowed gay marriages.
   Virginia is boasted as the state for lovers, but not for gay lovers who want their union acknowledged. According to the Associated Press, on March 10, the Virginia Senate approved a bill prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.
   The bill, sponsored by Republican Del. Robert Marshall, will prevent court challenges from Virginians who travel to other states for civil unions, then return to Virginia to get their unions recognized.
   One senator said the bill tells gays and lesbians to "essentially stay out of Virginia."
   Marshall's bill will go before Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who has not yet taken a stand on the matter.