Same-sex couple makes ceremonial request for marriage license

Same-sex couple makes ceremonial request for marriage license in Morristown

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"Based on Tennessee law, I will not be able to issue a marriage license," the clerk told the couple. "Based on Tennessee law, I will not be able to issue a marriage license," the clerk told the couple.
The couple embraced and shed tears after their request was denied. The couple embraced and shed tears after their request was denied.
"That's the hard reality. We live here in the South. That's why we also think it's so important to stand up and make ourselves known," Wolfe said. "We're going to get more of that unless we say, 'We're staying. We're here.'" "That's the hard reality. We live here in the South. That's why we also think it's so important to stand up and make ourselves known," Wolfe said. "We're going to get more of that unless we say, 'We're staying. We're here.'"
Supporters cheered on the couple as the exited the clerk's office. Supporters cheered on the couple as the exited the clerk's office.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A same-sex couple applied for a marriage license in Morristown Wednesday, despite a state law that won't recognize their union.

It's part of an effort by a group called the Campaign for Southern Equality.

In a procession surrounded by friends and family, Matt Griffin and Raymie Wolfe made their way to the county clerk's desk in a ceremonial request for a marriage license.

"Based on Tennessee law, I will not be able to issue a marriage license," the clerk told the couple.

It was the answer they expected, but it was still an important step for the group.

"The reason Matthew and Raymie did this today was to show what happens when these laws get enforced and hurt real people that live here," said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

Matt and Raymie live in White Pine and grew up in the South. And while on Wednesday they were met with no protests, that's not always been the case.

"That's the hard reality. We live here in the South. That's why we also think it's so important to stand up and make ourselves known," Wolfe said. "We're going to get more of that unless we say, 'We're staying. We're here.'"

That's the effort of the WE DO campaign, traveling across Southern cities in the fight for marriage equality.

"This is a part of our country where people do know how to stand up to unjust laws and we take great humility by studying other movements, the civil rights movement, and how it takes people standing up again and again," said Rev. Beach-Ferrara.

Because while each lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couple throughout the campaign will hear the same answer, Matt and Raymie say it's about their support systems make the fight worth it.

"I think that 'no' pales in comparison to that support and seeing that it is what makes me believe we will win this eventually, because that was more much powerful than anything anyone behind a counter could say," Matt said.

The Hamblen County Clerk says this is the first time she has ever been asked for a marriage license by a gay couple.

The WE DO campaign started its journey in Mississippi and is traveling for the rest of the month throughout Southern states as they make their way up to Washington, D.C.

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