Friday, June 19, 2015

LGBT group says Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage bans is not just an urban issue

With much of the national focus on the U.S. Supreme Court's impending decision regarding same-sex marriage centered on urban areas, a Tennessee marriage-equality group is taking its message to rural areas and small towns "because there are fewer support structures for LGBT residents there and because they were tired of hearing that LGBT rights is only an urban issue," Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder.

The Supreme Court "is expected to rule any day on whether to uphold or overturn same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee," Marema writes. "Thirty-seven states now allow same-sex marriage, but the Court’s decision is likely to clarify a national position on whether banning marriage of couples who are the same sex violates the Constitution."

Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said many members are originally from small Southern towns, Marema writes. Sanders told Marema, "Where the residents are interested, we are forming committees in the towns we visit so that they can meet monthly to address their needs. It is part of a long-term organizing approach now."

"We wanted to focus on smaller towns because we're making progress in Tennessee's larger cities with non-discrimination and partner-benefits ordinances," Sanders told Marema. "Those cities also have more LGBT organizations to serve them, whereas most rural areas don't. Frankly, we also need [small towns and rural areas]. The state legislators from these areas often characterize LGBT issues as urban issues, and helping them see equality as a constituent issue is going to be critical in Tennessee." (Read more)

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