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Tennessee woman granted rights of husband in same-sex divorce

A recent Tennessee court decision granted a divorce to a lesbian couple after a judge changed his mind about the case. Knox County Circuit Court Judge Greg McMillan initially ruled that one of the women had no rights as a parent to a child created by artificial insemination.

The woman did not meet the legal definition of "husband," the judge had ruled. By the time of the May 2 ruling, he had changed his mind, however, and granted the divorce and approved a shared custody plan.

Dozens of Tennessee politicians had tried repeatedly to intervene in the case. That included efforts by legislators to push through a bill to deny some parental rights to same-sex couples even as the case of Sabrina and Erica Witt was being decided.

The lawmakers were represented by the leader of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, a group that argues that marriage should be limited to one man and one woman.

The president of the group said the organization supports a recently enacted law directing Tennessee judges to use the “natural and ordinary meaning” of words such as “husband” and “wife.”

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Equality Project said that the law is an attempt to get around the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 decision that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Legislators are appealing McMillan's decision.

Every dispute over parenting time, custody, visitation and fathers' rights is important. Contact a skilled Nashville family law attorney to protect your children and your rights as a parent.

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