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Tennessee Pride Stretches Well Beyond Month of June

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PHOTO: Tennessee is one of about a dozen states where the rights of same-sex couples to marry are still playing out in court. The next chapter is August 6. Photo credit: Joel Kramer/Flickr
PHOTO: Tennessee is one of about a dozen states where the rights of same-sex couples to marry are still playing out in court. The next chapter is August 6. Photo credit: Joel Kramer/Flickr
June 30, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - "Pride Month" is coming to a close, but a couple major legal and policy developments have supporters of equal rights in the state expressing optimism for the future.

Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said efforts were re-energized in June with an important announcement in the legal battle for marriage equality.

"On Aug. 6, all the marriage cases in the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, there will be oral arguments for them together," he said. "That announcement took place during Pride Month, and really energized a lot of celebrations around the state."

Tennessee is among about a dozen states where the freedom to marry for same-sex couples is playing out in court, while marriage equality is now the law in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Sanders said Pride Month also coincided with details of what he sees as positive shifts in policy on federal workplace discrimination.

"The president said he was going to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," Sanders said. "So, we've been looking at that and how that has an impact on Tennessee."

Sanders also noted that this month saw the city of Nashville pass same-sex partner benefits for its government employees.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN