The United States Supreme Court is hearing our historic Tennessee marriage equality case, and our three plaintiff couples are headed to the Supreme Court! We are working as hard as we can to finally win the freedom to marry nationwide, and our Tennessee case will be a critical part of that historic victory.
While we’re sure our plaintiffs have good reason to celebrate on this very special Valentine’s Day, the coming months leading up to a ruling from the Supreme Court will not be easy for them as other people decide if their love is worthy. Those who oppose our families will be fighting us every step of the way.
Meet the Plaintiffs
Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty (pictured) met while at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and have been together for four years. As Sophy neared the end of her post-graduate fellowship, Val and Sophy began looking for teaching positions in veterinary medicine that were geographically close to another. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville offered them both positions in their respective specialties. Although the couple had married while living in New York, the State of Tennessee treats them as if they are two unmarried women. In March 2014, Val gave birth to the couple’s first child.
Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura have known each other since they were teenagers. Ijpe is a Sergeant in the Army Reserves. The couple got married on August 5, 2011, a week before Ijpe began a tour of duty in Afghanistan. In May 2012, Ijpe returned home safely and immediately moved with Thom to Memphis, Tennessee, where he had been stationed prior to his deployment.
Matthew Mansell and Johno Espejo met in 1995 and were married in California in 2008. Matthew is a conflicts analyst at a law firm, and Johno is a stay-at-home dad and works part-time at the local YMCA. The couple moved to Franklin, Tennessee in 2012 with their two young children.
Thank you for your incredible support of NCLR and our plaintiffs. We couldn’t do this without you.
Kate Kendell, Esq.
NCLR Executive Director
P.S. Please share this petition—www.TinyURL.com/WeHeartTN—on your social networks using #WeHeartTN.