Johnson City

LGBT community leaders say Tennessee will legalize same-sex marriage

LGBT community leaders say Tennessee will legalize same-sex marriage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - West Virginia and North Carolina are the most recent U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage. Virginia was also recently added to that list.

30 U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriage with seven other cases still pending. The directors of the Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities say they're certain that by the end of the year Tennessee, and possibly the rest of the country, will legalize same-sex marriage.

John Baker and Kenn Lyon serve as the Co-Executive Directors for the Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities, and say the potential for same-sex marriage in Tennessee brings hope for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"The Supreme Court did not want to hear any appeals to states that already had passed same-sex marriage legislation. That, to me, is really encouraging because it says that they're standing behind marriage equality throughout the United States. They want to see this for the country," says Lyon.

In the state of Tennessee, gay marriage still isn't legal, but a judge is looking at an appeal that would require the Volunteer State to recognize same-sex marriage from other states.

"The right to say who you want to love and who you want to marry should not be anybody else's choice. It should be only your choice," adds Baker.

A choice that could soon be a reality. If the Supreme Court refuses to hear from the seven pending states, that will bring the total number of states legalizing same-sex marriage to 37. Both Lyon and Baker believe, at that point, states won't even have a choice to legalize it because it'll become a federal law.

"In the last year, we have gained so many states in just one year, more than doubled the amount," adds Baker.

It's equality for everyone these men will continue to fight for.

"This is the land of the free.This is America, where we should have the right to pursue our life as we think our life needs to go," Baker tells News 5.

The Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities hopes to have a functioning center in Johnson City for the LGBT community by next year.

On October 22, the Barter Theater in Abingdon will be hosting a fundraising event and play with all proceeds going back to help fund the PCC. You can find more information on the Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities at www.pridetricities.com.


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