TN watches Supreme Court for decisions on gay marriage - FOX Carolina 21

TN watches Supreme Court for decisions on gay marriage

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The U.S. Supreme Court is set this week to consider two potentially landmark decisions on the issue of same-sex marriage.

One could decide whether legally married same-sex couples are entitled to equal benefits, while the other could decide the constitutionality of a voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

Recent national polls found more Americans support gay marriage than ever before, but a Middle Tennessee State University poll found 62 percent of Tennesseans oppose it.

Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, said even a narrow Supreme Court decision favoring same-sex marriage could have a major impact in the Volunteer State.

"In time, those precedents would be used if someone were to bring suit in Tennessee," Sanders said.

The court could determine whether married same-sex couples like Dakerri Barber-Rhone, of Nashville, would be entitled to the same federal benefits as married straight couples.

"To be able to get the same recognition as all married couples, it's a dream," Barber-Rhone said.

For now, Barber-Rhone - who was married last year in Washington - is unable to benefit from her partner's health insurance policy.

Rosa June opposes changing the law, saying the change would take work.

"People were created equal, but marriage is between a man and a woman," June said. "I think it's going to affect your traditional marriages, because what's going to happen is you're going to have so many policies and procedures to change. It's going to be a mess."

The Tennessee Equality Project plans to host a rally and informational event Tuesday evening in support of the issues before the Supreme Court, and Barber-Rhone said she will be one of many in attendance.

"I'm excited to be alive to even witness this - to witness history," she said.

The rally is set for 6:30 p.m. at OutCentral, located at 1709 Church St. For more information, visit:

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