A man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for violating Tennessee’s marriage equality law, the latest in a string of lawsuits that have challenged the state constitutionality of the law.
A jury found Michael Withers guilty of violating the marriage equality act, which requires all couples to get a court order to get married and that prohibits gay and lesbian couples from receiving civil unions.
Withers’ attorney, Jeff Rector, said Witherson is sorry for his actions and said he would appeal.
In a letter sent to Witherss attorney, Rector said the sentence is a “tremendous blow” to the family, and Wither’s family “is deeply hurt by this verdict.”
Rector wrote that the state of Tennessee “failed to take meaningful steps to protect” Wither.
“In the wake of the recent news of a new lawsuit, and in the wake that the court found the Tennessee Constitution violated our constitutional rights, we are deeply disappointed by the sentence imposed today.”
A jury convicted Wither on Feb. 4, but Wither still faces additional challenges from gay rights groups.
A federal judge ruled that Wither must marry his longtime lover, who was not present at the sentencing.