The Tennessean reports:
Fifty-three Republican state legislators have teamed with a Christian conservative group in trying to become involved in the pending divorce of two Knoxville women who are arguing over child custody. The Family Action Council of Tennessee announced that its legal arm, known as the Constitutional Government Defense Fund, is representing the legislators in filing a motion to intervene in the divorce case of Sabrina Renae Witt vs. Erica Christine Witt.
The motion contends the legislators’ “unique and substantial interest in the legislative power and process will be impeded, impaired, and/or nullified” if courts interpret a state law “to apply to any persons other than a man and woman joined together as ‘husband’ and ‘wife.'”
Knox County Circuit Court Judge Greg McMillan ruled in June that Erica Witt has no legal rights under Tennessee law to involvement with a daughter born to Sabrina Witt through artificial insemination, as reported by the News Sentinel at the time. The couple were legally married in Washington, D.C., in April 2014, when same-sex marriage was prohibited in Tennessee. There is still no state law on the books authorizing same-sex marriages, but they were validated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.
The motion appears basically to endorse the position taken by McMillan in his ruling. The judge decided — as argued by Erica Witt’s attorney — that the relevant Tennessee statute dealing with parenting rights in cases of artificial insemination speaks only to “husbands” of the birth mother and does not cover the mother’s same-sex spouse.
RELATED: Back in the January the Family Action Council filed lawsuits seeking to force two county clerks to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses. One of those suits was “reluctantly” dismissed by a judge due to lack of standing. The other remains pending.