Knoxville same sex couple hopeful after gay marriage rulings in

Knoxville same sex couple hopeful after gay marriage rulings in Texas, Kentucky

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Regina Lambert, one of the attorneys involved in the TN Marriage Equality lawsuit Regina Lambert, one of the attorneys involved in the TN Marriage Equality lawsuit
Professors at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, the couple became legally married back in 2011 when they were living in New York. Professors at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, the couple became legally married back in 2011 when they were living in New York.
"We've got our fingers crossed and are waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for our court to rule," said attorney Regina Lambert. "We've got our fingers crossed and are waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for our court to rule," said attorney Regina Lambert.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville couple that has filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee concerning same-sex marriage is feeling more hopeful than ever that the outcome will be in their favor, after judges in both Texas and Kentucky ruled in favor of same-sex marriage this week.

Texas' ban on same sex marriage was struck down, and a federal judge in Kentucky ruled the state must recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed elsewhere.

That's music to the ears Knoxville's Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco.

Professors at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, the couple became legally married back in 2011 when they were living in New York.

But when they moved to Tennessee two years ago, their marriage was no longer recognized, due to the Marriage Protection Amendment, which prohibits gay marriage.

Along with three other same-sex couples, they filed suit against the state back in October.

The recognition-only suit is asking Tennessee to recognize their marriage.

They are still awaiting a decision from the federal judge, but on the heels of these latest decisions in other states, their attorney says they're feeling positive.

"We've got our fingers crossed and are waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for our court to rule," said attorney Regina Lambert.

It's a ruling the couple hopes comes down soon though, as they are expecting a baby.

Their daughter, who they have already named Emelia, is due in just a few short weeks.

"Her name is Emelia and yeah, we're really excited! Now we're just in the waiting game," said Tanco.

They fear the implications for their child, should her parent's marriage not be legally recognized.

"If something were to happen to me even in the next month, I mean we're going to go through labor together, if something happens during that time, she would be unprotected because her other parent is not recognized legally," said Tanco.

Lambert says the judge's ruling could happen any day now.

"Having the injunction or the case decided in our favor, will just be a massive relief for our family," said Jesty.

So it's a daily wait, as they inch closer to their due date.

"I personally hope that eventually when Emelia looks back she'll be proud," said Tanco.

After the original lawsuit was filed in October, the four couples attorneys filed a preliminary injunction, asking the state for immediate protection while their federal lawsuit in pursuit of marriage equality is pending.

The judge out of Nashville has not issued a ruling on either suit.

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