Tennessee Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption Laws

Tennessee Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption Laws

 
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Flag of TennesseeTennessee Laws on Same-Sex Marriage, Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer, Surrogacy and Adoption

Same-Sex Marriage

Tennessee does not recognize same sex marriage.  The law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.  Same-sex marriages performed in other states or other countries are not recognized. 

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 36 Domestic Relations, Chapter 3 Marriage
Part 1 License

36-3-113. Marriage between one man and one woman only legally recognized marital contract.

(a) Tennessee's marriage licensing laws reinforce, carry forward, and make explicit the long-standing public policy of this state to recognize the family as essential to social and economic order and the common good and as the fundamental building block of our society. To that end, it is further the public policy of this state that the historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state in order to provide the unique and exclusive rights and privileges to marriage.

(b) The legal union in matrimony of only one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be the only recognized marriage in this state.

(c) Any policy, law or judicial interpretation that purports to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one (1) man and one (1) woman is contrary to the public policy of Tennessee.

(d) If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry, which marriages are prohibited in this state, any such marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

A constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage was passed 2006.

Tennessee Constitution Article XI Section 18

The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one (1) man and one (1) woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

Artificial insemination

Tennessee law only refers to artificial insemination involving a married woman. The law says if the husband consents to the donation, he is considered the child’s father.

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 68 Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Health
Chapter 3 Vital Records Act of 1977
Part 3 Births

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-3-306 Birth from Artificial Insemination

A child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman's husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.

It is a criminal offense to donate sperm that prevents a significant risk of HIV, HBV or HCV transmission.

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 39 Criminal Offenses, Chapter 13 Offenses Against Person
Part 1 Assaultive Offenses

§ 39-13-109 Criminal exposure to HIV, HBV, HCV -- Defenses -- Penalty

(a) A person commits the offense of criminal exposure of another to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), to hepatitis B virus (HBV), or to hepatitis C virus (HCV) when, knowing that the person is infected with HIV, with HBV, or with HCV, the person knowingly:

   (1) Engages in intimate contact with another;

   (2) Transfers, donates, or provides blood, tissue, semen, organs, or other potentially infectious body fluids or parts for transfusion, transplantation, insemination, or other administration to another in any manner that presents a significant risk of HIV, HBV or HCV transmission; or

   (3) Dispenses, delivers, exchanges, sells, or in any other way transfers to another any nonsterile intravenous or intramuscular drug paraphernalia

Embryo Transfer

The donor of an embryo can sign a contract relinquishing all rights and responsibilities for the embryo before the transfer occurs. The child is considered the legal child of the intended parents.

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 36 Domestic Relations
Chapter 2 Parentage, Part 4 Parentage of Children Born of Donated Embryo Transfer

Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-2-403 Establishing embryo parentage -- Relinquishment of rights and responsibilities

(a)  (1) A legal embryo custodian may relinquish all rights and responsibilities for an embryo prior to embryo transfer. A written contract shall be entered into as appropriate when establishing embryo parentage prior to embryo transfer for the legal transfer of rights to an embryo and to any child that may result from the embryo transfer:

      (A) Between legal embryo custodians and the embryo transfer clinic; or

      (B) Between a legal embryo custodian and each recipient intended parent.

   (2) The contract shall be signed, as appropriate, by each legal embryo custodian for such embryo, by the embryo transfer clinic or by each recipient intended parent in the presence of a notary public. Initials or other designations may be used if the individuals desire anonymity.

(b) If the embryo was created using donor gametes, the sperm or oocyte donors who irrevocably relinquished their rights in connection with in vitro fertilization shall not be entitled to any notice of the embryo relinquishment, nor shall their consent to the embryo relinquishment be required.

(c) Upon embryo relinquishment by each legal embryo custodian pursuant to subsection (a), the legal transfer of rights to an embryo shall be considered complete at the time of thawing or to such other time as the parties may agree, and the embryo transfer shall be authorized.

(d) A child born to a recipient intended parent as the result of embryo relinquishment pursuant to subsection (a) shall be presumed to be the legal child of the recipient intended parent; provided, that each legal embryo custodian and each recipient intended parent has entered into a written contract pursuant to this part.

(e) Any and all prior legal embryo custodians whose donation of an embryo has resulted in the birth of a child to a recipient intended parent pursuant to subsection (a) shall have no rights or responsibilities with such child and of the child to them.

Surrogacy

Tennessee law deals only with surrogacy arrangements in which the intended parents are husband and wife.   It defines a surrogate birth as either an arrangement in which the husband’s sperm and wife’s egg are united and placed inside another woman’s body or an arrangement in which the husband’s sperm is used to inseminate another woman, who agrees to relinquish the child to the biological father and his wife.  Surrogacy agreements involving same-sex couples would probably not be recognized.

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 36 Domestic Relations
Chapter 1 Adoption, Part 1 General Provisions

§ 36-1-102 Part definitions

(48)  (A) "Surrogate birth" means:

         (i) The union of the wife's egg and the husband's sperm, which are then placed in another woman, who carries the fetus to term and who, pursuant to a contract, then relinquishes all parental rights to the child to the biological parents pursuant to the terms of the contract; or

         (ii) The insemination of a woman by the sperm of a man under a contract by which the parties state their intent that the woman who carries the fetus shall relinquish the child to the biological father and the biological father's wife to parent;

Adoption

The law says that anyone over the age of 18 can adopt.

Tennessee Code Annotated
Title 36 Domestic Relations
Chapter 1 Adoption, Part 1 General Provisions

§ 36-1-115 Persons eligible to file adoption petition -- Residence requirements -- Preference for foster parents.

(a) Any person over eighteen (18) years of age may petition the chancery or circuit court to adopt a person and may request that the adopted person's name be changed.

It is unclear whether same-sex second parent or joint adoptions would be allowed (Reference: Human Rights Campaign).

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