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Here we go again: ACLU bent on silencing voters

ADF attorneys represent state legislators seeking to oppose ACLU suit aimed at having marriage amendment removed from Tennessee ballot
Published On: 10/18/2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund today filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the majority of Tennessee legislators as defendants in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU to attack the state’s proposed marriage amendment.  The ACLU suit seeks to deny voters the ability to decide on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “the relationship of one man and one woman.”

“Let the voters decide,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron Babione.  “The ACLU’s suit interferes with the legislature’s authority to present amendments to the people.”

On April 21, the ACLU filed its lawsuit, American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, et al., v. Riley C. Darnell, et al., in the Chancery Court for Davidson County, arguing that Tennessee’s proposed constitutional amendment on marriage is unconstitutional because, the ACLU alleges, it was not published six months prior to the election of the current General Assembly.

The Tennessee General Assembly voted to place the amendment on the November 2006 ballot in May of last year.  The proposed amendment reads, in part, “The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state.”

“Contrary to the ACLU’s claim, the substance of the amendment was widely circulated in the media before, at the time of, and immediately after the General Assembly’s vote.  In addition, the Tennessee secretary of state paid to have its language published in at least six Tennessee newspapers in June 2004,” Babione explained.

Babione added that he believes the ACLU is desperate to evade the democratic process.

“The ACLU and their allies are utterly unable to persuade Tennesseans that marriage should be redefined to mean anything and everything.  They are trying to strong-arm the people by killing the amendment before the people can vote on it,” he said.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

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