The U.S. Supreme Court has never held that states are required by the U.S. Constitution to license marriages or that the only way to marry in our country is by means of a government-issued license. In fact, in another U.S. Supreme Court decision, Meister v. Moore, the Court said that a man and woman could marry without a license because the common law recognized that the right to marry existed before civil governments ever started licensing marriages. The Court said the right of a man and woman to marry was not “conferred” on a man and woman by the government.
Because the right of a man and woman to marry is God-given, pre-political, and not be based on a government-issued permission slip (license), FACT believes Tennessee can repeal is licensing statutes and allow a man and woman who privately choose to marry to file a record with the county clerk giving the public notice of the fact they have married. FACT and others believe this does not violate the holding in Obergefell because it does not involve any "licensing" activity by the government.
Do you agree with FACT and others that the legislature should not ignore this provision in Tennessee’s Constitution, should repeal the state’s marriage license law, and allow a man and woman to marry and record the fact of their marriage with the county clerk?