Note: This story was updated at 4:51 p.m.
The Anderson County Clerk received a few inquiries after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage on Friday, but the office hasn’t issued any licenses yet, an official said Saturday.
Tennessee officials had prepared county clerks for the landmark 5-4 decision. An email from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office advised county clerks that Friday’s ruling made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. County clerks in the state’s 95 counties were advised to comply promptly, and implementing the federal court’s decision began immediately.
Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole said residents could get same-sex marriage licenses starting at about 1 p.m. Friday (June 26), after county clerks received guidance on the issue.
“We had a few phone calls, but we didn’t issue any licenses yesterday,” Cole said Saturday.
It’s not clear how many same-sex marriage licenses could be issued in Anderson County. Cole said his office issues about 600 marriage licenses per year, or in the range of about two per day. It’s one of many services provided by the Anderson County Clerk.
The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church announced plans earlier this month to offer free wedding services and a reception for same-sex couples as soon as the County Clerks’ offices are able to issue licenses.
The Supreme Court cases—Obergefell v. Hodges and three others, including Tanco v. Haslam—came out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Tennessee. Arguments were heard in April.
The petitioners were 14 same-sex couples, including two women from Knoxville, and two men whose same-sex partners have died. All filed complaints in U.S. district courts in their home states—Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee—where marriage had been defined as a union between one man and one woman.
The plaintiffs had claimed that the states were violating their Fourteenth Amendment rights by denying them the right to marry—or to have same-sex marriages performed in another state recognized in those four states. Each district court ruled in favor of the petitioners, but the Sixth Circuit consolidated the cases and reversed.
But on Friday, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. The ruling made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
The first same-sex marriage license was issued in Roane County at about 3 p.m. Friday.
Roane County Clerk Barbara Anthony declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision, which has been celebrated by some and criticized by others.
“We just comply with the law,” Anthony said.
Cole also declined to comment on the Court’s ruling, pointing out that he is an agent of the state.
See more information about applying for a marriage license in Anderson County here.
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