Same-Sex Couple React To Federal Judge Order For Marriage Recognition

By Austin Lewis |

Published 03/15 2014 09:23PM

Updated 03/16 2014 01:18PM

Three same sex couples now have their marriages recognized by the state of Tennessee. A federal judge issued a preliminary order yesterday saying state officials must respect their marriage even though gay marriage is banned in the state.

Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura married in 2011 in New York, but when they moved to Tennessee their marriage was not recognized. The couple was overjoyed to learn on Friday their marriage would now be upheld by the state.

"I was excited and called Thom and let him know and it was just very exciting news and there was no advance notice that this was coming down the pike," said Ijpe DeKoe.

A preliminary order issued by a federal judge saying that the state must recognize DeKoe and Kostura's marriage, along with two other Tennessee couples.

"It was very shocking at first and hasn't been much time to process it because there has been so many people calling us and emails and text messages and Facebook has been exploding. It's been rather a lot to process," said Thom Kostura.

In November, they filed a lawsuit challenging the state's marriage ban. 

"It feels pretty wonderful all those 'what-if' scenarios for us are pretty much settled...everyone should be provided that comfort," said Kostura.

Their attorney, Maureen Holland, explained Friday's ruling was groundbreaking because it was the first time a federal judge in Tennessee recognized same sex marriages.

Even though the legal battle is not over yet, DeKoe and Kostura say it's something they will continue to tackle together.

"It's part of our life it's part of our marriage at this time and hopefully it's something we could look back on in years to come and say we were part of that," said DeKoe. "It was pretty big."

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