LGBT rights in Tennessee
|LGBT rights in Tennessee|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1996|
|Gender identity/expression||State does not alter sex on birth certificates for transsexual people|
|Same-sex marriage banned by the stae constitution|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Tennessee face legal challenges non-LGBT residents do not. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Tennessee. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all the protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Tennessee does not permit the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state forbids, both by statute and in its constitution, the recognition of same-sex marriages and other forms of same-sex partnership solemnized in other jurisdictions. The constitutional amendment defining marriage was approved by 81% of voters in a referendum in November 2006.
A March 2013 poll by Middle Tennessee State University showed 62% of respondents oppose marriage equality, with 28% in support.  According to a May 2013 poll by Vanderbilt University, 49% of Tennesseans support either marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, while 46% oppose both.
Adoption and parenting
Tennessee allows single persons to adopt children. The state has no explicit prohibition on adoption by same-sex couples or second-parent adoptions.
Tennessee law does not punish discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. In May 2011, Governor Bill Haslam signed the "Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act" into law. The act overrides an ordinance passed earlier in the year by Nashville's Metropolitan Council that required city contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-discrimination policies. It also blocks any local unit of government from requiring that companies bar discrimination on any basis not already covered by state law.
Tennessee law has punished hate crimes based on sexual orientation since 2001, but the law does not include hate crimes based on gender identity.
- American Psychological Association: Campbell v. Sundquist, 926 S.W.2d 255, accessed April 9, 2011
- New York Times: Monica Davey, "The 2006 Elections: Ballot Initiatives," November 9, 2006, accessed April 9, 2011
- "Poll: 62 percent in Tennessee against gay marriage". The Knoxville News Sentinel. March 5, 2013.
- "Vanderbilt poll finds growing support for same-sex marriage". The Tennessean. May 21, 2013.
- Human Rights Campaign: "Tennessee Adoption Law", accessed April 9, 2011
- Williams Institute: "Tennessee – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination," September 2009, accessed April 9, 2011
- Gov. Haslam reverses Nashville's anti-discrimination law, May 23, 2011. The Tennessean.
- Witt, Gerald (May 1, 2012). "Knoxville City Council passes anti-discrimination ordinance". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- "Memphis includes gays under anti-discrimination". Knoxville News Sentinel. Associated Press. October 17, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012. "The Memphis City Council has included sexual orientation and gender identity in an ordinance that bans discrimination in city hiring."
- "Statement of Non-Discrimination". Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Tennessee Hate Crimes Law at Human Rights Campaign.