Charles Grant and Marriage Equality Plaintiffs and Attorneys To Be Honored

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
September 28, 2015 11:30 am

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NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee will honor the Tennesseans who were part of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision that established marriage as a fundamental right at its Wednesday, September 30 Bill of Rights Celebration.

Tanco v. Haslam, part of the consolidated Obergefell marriage equality case, challenged Tennessee’s refusal to recognize the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. The honorees include Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty of Knoxville; Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura of Memphis; and Matthew Mansell and Johno Espejo of Franklin; as well as their attorneys, Abby Rubenfeld of Rubenfeld Law Office, PC; William L. Harbison, Phillip F. Cramer, J. Scott Hickman and John L. Farringer IV of Sherrard & Roe, PLC; Maureen T. Holland of Holland & Associates, PC; and Regina M. Lambert, Esq.

“These Tennesseans are being honored with ACLU-TN’s Bill of Rights Award for their extraordinary effort to ensure that same-sex couples and the commitments they make to each other receive the same dignity and protections as everyone else,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director. “They have made our state, and indeed, our nation, more equal, fair and just.”

Charles K. Grant will receive the 2015 Bruce Kramer Cooperating Attorney Award, which celebrates attorneys working for the protection and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The award was established by the late Lucius Burch, a prominent Memphis attorney.

“Charles has been a tireless champion of restoring and expanding access to the ballot box,” Weinberg said. “His efforts have had a significant impact on the lives of countless Tennesseans.”

In recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Dale Ho, director of the national ACLU Voting Rights Project, will deliver keynote remarks at the event.

Recording artist Gretchen Peters, a 2014 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, will offer a special performance.

The ACLU of Tennessee is the only statewide organization dedicated to protecting and promoting civil liberties and civil rights. ACLU pursues its mission through advocacy, public education, legislative lobbying and litigation. Recent work includes lobbying for sentencing reform; defending a woman’s right to access comprehensive reproductive health care; increasing awareness of the school-to-prison pipeline and “policing for profit;” advancing gender equality in school sports; empowering high school students at statewide youth summits; and advocating for teachers’ free speech.

The Bill of Rights Celebration will take place at the Noah Liff Opera Center in Nashville on Wednesday, September 30. It will begin with a silent auction at 6:30 p.m., followed by a seated dinner and program. Event information and sponsorship opportunities can be found here or by calling the ACLU-TN office at 615-320-7142.

In addition to the Tennesseans being honored, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Douglas H. Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray LLP played an instrumental role in the Tanco case.

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