TN supporters keep tabs on gay marriage hearings - WSMV Channel 4

TN supporters keep tabs on gay marriage hearings

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After two hours Wednesday, the hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court was complete, and now people on both sides of the issue are waiting to see whether the high court strikes down the law.

Many Tennesseans are watching this case closely, including Nashville attorney Sam Felkner.

He and his partner, Keith Little, have been together for more than 15 years and were legally married five years ago in Massachusetts.

More than 1,000 federal laws confer benefits of one sort or another on married couples, including everything from tax savings to Social Security benefits.

"I believe firmly, and in my heart believe, that same-sex married couples should have the same rights and benefits as opposite sex couples," Felkner said.

For the past two days, the court has heard arguments over whether gay marriage should be a federal or a state decision, and Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday while he believes it's a state issue he also doesn't support gay marriage in Tennessee.

"I'm in favor of leaving Tennessee's laws as they are now," Haslam said.

Couples like Felkner and Little hope that will change.

"It's just a matter of time before Gov. Haslam and our generation is no longer in power and the younger people are in power. Things will change for the better then in Tennessee, I believe," Felkner said.

Nine states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage, and Tennessee is not one of them.

The Supreme Court hearings wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, and a decision won't be published until later this year.

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