TENNESSEE: Federal Court Awards $2 Million In Legal Fees To Plaintiffs In Same-Sex Marriage Battle

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

The state must pay more than $2 million in legal fees to three couples who successfully challenged Tennessee’s same-sex marriage ban, a federal judge in Nashville ruled Friday.

Judge Aleta Trauger awarded $1.98 million in attorneys’ fees and $59,916 in expenses to the plaintiffs, which include Knoxville veterinarians Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty. The award, allowed under federal law, is 15 percent less than the $2.33 million the plaintiffs sought.

“The results obtained in this case were superb and far-reaching,” Trauger wrote in her memo. “As the prevailing party, the plaintiffs will, therefore, be rewarded a significant portion of their requested reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses under Section 1988.”

A spokesman for Tennessee Attorney General Hebert H. Slatery’s office said his office was still reviewing the order Monday afternoon and did not have a comment. In court documents filed in January and unsealed on March 7, Slatery’s office argued the plaintiffs’ attorneys were overcharging for their services, and insisted they should be paid $1.1 million instead.

According to JMG reader Dale, so far same-sex marriage plaintiffs nationwide have been awarded a total of $17,090,388.61 in legal fees and court costs.



  • 17 million dollars. that could’ve bought so much stuff to help out children, homeless people, veterans, anyone who needs help.
    but fuck it, at least we made (and are still making) life hell for the gayz.

    • Todd20036

      It was only 2 million in Tennessee, but anyone who supports bigotry by voting for bigots does not deserve government services.

      I have no sympathy for the people who get reduced services because the states had to pay our side’s court costs

      • GayOldLady

        I don’t think anyone who needs services in TN will be short shifted by this judgment. The State of TN isn’t having financial difficulties. Just the fact that the State made the decision to enact laws to prevent us from marrying and to prevent us from having our marriages recognized if we married in other States, put them squarely on the chopping block. They knew when this suit went to SCOTUS that if WE prevailed they would pay. It’s too damn bad that the Judge didn’t award the entire amount the Plaintiffs requested, but I think this decision just further demonstrates that LOVE WINS.

        • Jimmie Z

          L💘VE wins!

          • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

            and bigotry loses…

            Slowly but surely, bigotry loses.

      • Sporkfighter

        How do they treat teens (gay or straight) kicked out of their houses or forced to flee from them in Tennessee?

        Two million dollars could have been better spent.

        • Todd20036

          True, but no way would TN spend that money on homeless gay teens.

      • Jay Silversmith

        I know, huh? First ya gotta club em up side the head with a 2 x 4 just to get their attention.

      • But it’s not just bigots that are going to be financially hurt by this.

        The thing to do is tax the bigot churches who oppose SSM and let them pick up the tab.

    • Brian in Valdosta

      Aptly put, EdBurrow. It’s that last part that I just don’t get: “and are still making”. When fear and loathing are woven so intricately into the very fabric of a whole sector of society, it’s hard to break through with logic and love, isn’t it? I foresee this struggles lasting quite a few more years. Sadly.

    • guest

      I laugh when I see these awards that the haters have to pay, and then I laugh again, reminded that it was the American right, who so many years ago, pushed for the loser to pay these type of awards in a way to stop what their corporate masters thought were frivolous lawsuits. Then again, their corporate masters would think a $1.00 award would be too much. I enjoy it when it comes from a hate state and the right has to see the amount, even with the fact that the elected haters will not have to pay themselves.

      I also keep hope alive that at some point the citizens of the hate states will eventually wake up and see what the right has done to them and to their state economy, etc.

    • dcurlee

      Yea but why would the religious fanatics like Brown, Perkins…well you know the list goes on Their freedoms are being trampled left and right. Why care about people in need

    • ohbear1957

      Maybe we need to put it in terms that they can understand.
      It’s a shitload of TN taxpayer money! The State of Tennessee could’ve taken that $2 million and bought 127,060 boxes of Federal brand “Power-Shok 150GR Soft Point” bullets at the low, low WalMart price of $15.74 a box.

      Or 255,427 King James Version DiCarta Pink Gift & Award Bibles (at Walmart $7.83 per BIble).

      • antiliberal

        I was looking for .30 carbine in power-shok(cali legal ammo) and your post here was found in google search, never thought about wali world, thanks!

        • ohbear1957

          Glad to help. Happy hunting!

  • Mark

    aaaaawwwwww hate doesn’t pay, does it TN?? 🙂

  • crewman

    That’s appropriate. You would hope voters would penalize politicians who purse laws that are guaranteed to have this outcome. Perhaps it will sway some voters, enough to matter in some places.

    • Chucktech

      You would hope voters would penalize these politicians, but a lot of those voters are utterly crestfallen that their precious gawd ordained biblical marriage has been sullied by the homos.

  • ceeenbee

    Bigotry is expensive.

    • sherman

      Unfortunately it has also been very profitable to many of the haters.

    • kaydenpat

      Hate costs.

      • Octavio

        And it needs to cost more.

      • Sporkfighter

        But it doesn’t cost the haters, it costs the allies and the gays and the poor and the homeless too.

        If we could tie the costs of discrimination to the people who voted for the discrimination, that would be good. Hell, I’d even support a Haters’ License. Estimate the number of gay and trans people in your state area, and assess a $10 per head fee to not serve them. Of course, you’d have to post your haters’ license prominently, just like we post the health department inspection card in restaurants in California. Assuming 5-10% of the population are gay, that would be $3,250,000 to $6,500,000 per year per business in Tennessee. Let’s guess how many people would put their money where their mouth is, and trust their Christian neighbors to pay extra to support discrimination.

  • sherman

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Good for them!!!!!!!!!! I’m glad bigotry is expensive.

    However, we are talking about a State that has an official gun. The .50BMG which is a monster of a weapon.


    For perspective as to how gigantic and powerful this weapon is here is me holding one. Keep in mind I’m 5’11”

    • Todd20036

      The heck is that used for? It wouldn’t even be good for self defense.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        It’s a sniper rifle You can take out targets at a very long distance. The longest confirmed sniper kill was 1.54 miles away. It will also take out light armored vehicles.

        This is just the shell, after firing, to give you an idea of how huge this cannon really is. Add a couple more inches for the bullet.

    • olandp

      5’11” and wearing heels, you are my kind of girl Rebecca!*

      *Or do you prefer woman?

      • Todd20036

        I thought you preferred men

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Girl, Woman. Either is OK. In the context you used it “girl” is perfect.

    • kaydenpat

      Looks like a still from an action movie.

    • Prion

      It’s coming right for us!

    • teeveedub

      Don’t mess with Rebecca.

      • Steve

        She looks like one bad ass bi-th! Good for her. I’m glad she’s on our side 🙂

        • Rebecca Gardner

          My favorite story with that exact gun.

          That gun is illegal in CA. It belongs to the Law Enforcement trainer that was so pissed off about the DV that happened to me he took me under his wing and I was in his classes with police officers.

          We were up at the law enforcement ranges in the mountains just east of LA and I’m laying on the ground in the prone position popping off targets at 600 yrds with this monster rifle.

          Suddenly the bright sunny day turned dark and I was in a shadow. I look up and there are four SWAT members looking down at me. “Ma’am, can you lay off the fuckin’ rifle for a while please. You’re covering us with dirt.”

          At the end of the parallel range was a SWAT training house that has no roof so trainers can teach the team how to breach a building, clear rooms, etc. Well. This rifle is so powerful that the “splash” was throwing rocks and sands out of my range, over the berm, and into their training area.

          That ended that for the day.

    • Doug105

      Like with trucks the bigger the gun the smaller……
      Guess Tenn. had some issues when deciding on this.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Now I have the giggles! That was awesome.

    • TheManicMechanic

      “Annie Get Your Gun” meets the 21st century!

    • John Ruff

      Fucking crazy

    • Jimmie Z
  • bkmn

    They should copy the check and blank out the routing/account number and send out those copies to Bryan Fischer, Tony Duggar PerKKKins and Brian Brown to remind them they don’t get to have payouts like this.

  • Get Real

    O/T I just noted that celebrity Bernie Sanders backer/surrogate Susan Sarandon announced yesterday that she might support Donald Trump. WTF!

    • marshlc

      That’s the kind of thinking that people who don’t really think, think. That revolution she wants to bring about isn’t going to be fun and painless. Worldwide economic collapse and blood in the streets only look like a good idea if you’re not living in reality.

      • Macbill

        That revolution she wants to bring about won’t keep food from her table, or shelter for her loved ones. It’s easier to promote a revolution that will cause you no pain.

      • Doug105

        And once started it could easily go off course and only make matters worse, with one group or another seizing control.

    • TuuxKabin
    • Todd20036

      Some Sanders idiots might switch to Trump because both Sanders and Trump aren’t “standard politicians”.
      Yeah,, pretty stupid, IMHO

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    And remember this is for legal fees and expenses, so thy are not profiting from challenging bigotry. Unlike the American Taliban religious extremists who set up go fund me accounts to profit from their intentional decisions to violate laws and discriminate.

  • jayjonson

    Hope North Carolina governor and legislators are paying attention. Bigotry can be expensive.

    • kaydenpat

      As it should be.

    • Chucktech

      Too late, North Carolina…

  • Matt M

    Of course that’s just the amounts awarded to the winning plaintiffs…it doesn’t calculate the states’ own legal fees, costs, time spent, energy wasted…the true cost in dollars is a multiple of that figure…the true cost in lost services to their constituents is mind boggling. Prodigal politicians who promote such policies are properly panned by the populace.

    • i’m glad good lawyers working for good causes get well paid. but i couldn’t help but notice that is where the lion’s share of the money is going.

      running a vet’s office isn’t cheap. going to court all day, day after day, means you’re not working. i find it very hard to believe all they lost was $59K.

  • Blake Jordan

    Now states want to lose even more money with this RFRA bullshit!!!

    • Chucktech

      Apparently they have plenty of spare cash for this bullshit. Good. They’re gonna need it.

  • joe ho

    OT: Movement in Maine to replace the undemocratic caucus system with actual primaries. All caucus states should do the same.

    AUGUSTA — A bill that would replace Maine’s presidential caucuses with state-run primaries was endorsed Monday by cities and towns and the state’s top election official.

    A lobbyist for the Maine Municipal Association told lawmakers Monday that its 70-member leadership committee strongly supports a bill that would replace caucuses with primaries. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said a primary election should be scheduled on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March.

    Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, submitted the bill after long lines at the Portland caucus this month caused some people to wait more than four hours to vote. Alfond said many voters were “disenfranchised.”

    Opponents of the bill urged lawmakers to keep the current system because they value the community engagement of local caucus meetings.

  • D. J.

    We have to come up with punitive measures for ‘law makers’ who introduce bills that are unnecessary and later found unconstitutional.

    • Xuuths

      It’s tough to do more than vote out of office, because they are insulated with immunity laws.

  • marshlc

    You see, it’s not only wrong to deny citizens their civil rights, it’s expensive.

  • kaydenpat

    Good. Stop discriminating.

  • JT
    • Sporkfighter


      We aren’t engaged in a “gay rights” movement, but a civil rights movement with an emphasis today on gay rights, but BLM is part of the same struggle.

      If they can hold you down today, they can do the same to me tomorrow, and the Christians should be worried about next week. We all have rights or none of us have anything but the temporary forbearance of the current majority.

      • Ninja0980

        Sad to say (as noted in Roberta Kaplan’s book) some of the same black activists Rustin marched with in support of black civil rights marched with the bigots when it came to LGBT rights.
        I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that must have been for him.

      • JT

        Unfortunately, Bayard Rustin couldn’t be as open about his sexuality as he should have been, given the homophobia of that era.

        • Sporkfighter

          Neither did he sit on his ass and wait for conditions to improve. He was a hero, a credit to his race (that would be the human race)!

          • JT

            Absolutely a hero. And given the time he was in, amazingly so.

  • NeverEclipsed

    Cute couple. <3

  • JT

    so far same-sex marriage plaintiffs nationwide have been awarded a total of $17,090,388.61 in legal fees and court costs

    I’d like to see another digit there at least.

  • Ninja0980

    Bigotry has a price.

  • David Walker

    Can someone give the Snoopy happy dance, please?

  • sam

    talk about raising taxes, no wonder Trump is these people’s favorite candidate……….somewhere there is logic

    • sam

      Yet, I am totally positive, that the State will appeal this and bring it to the next higher court…………more money taken from the tax payers, which is fine with me. THEY VOTED these idiots into office.
      Blue Skies Above that they realize and vote their State Legislators OUT OF OFFICE but I believe that would be asking for too much

  • BobSF_94117

    Next time I get a bill from my attorneys, I’m going to tell them we had a vote and reduced their bill by 15%…

  • JCF
  • another very well deserved award to cover the costs that got us to where we are now. states should think about this before doing what North Carolina did by opening the door to more lawsuits to challenge anti-gay laws.

  • Jimmie Z

    Remember folks … you read it on JMG first.

  • warren

    1.9 of the 2 million in legal fees…1.9! and only 59k to the plaintiffs, amazing!

  • Jimmie Z
  • billbear1961