Defend democracy in the South.

The irony and hypocrisy surrounding the issue of marriage abounds, as evidenced by this:

Maikel and Alicia Garcia have just celebrated their wedding, but the state of Tennessee doesn't recognize it. Even though Maikel Garcia is a citizen and Alicia Garcia is a legal resident, the Davidson County clerk's office would not accept her passport and visa when the couple applied for a marriage license, Maikel Garcia said.

After being turned away, they returned with Terry Horgan, coordinator of Hispanic services for Catholic Charities at the Woodbine Center. Even with his help, Horgan said, the couple could not obtain a license.

Across the state, immigrant couples are being denied marriage licenses. In some cases one or both of the pair are undocumented. But even some legal immigrants have had difficulty obtaining licenses because of the identification requirements at some county clerks' offices.

"We called county clerks' offices across the state and, unfortunately, nearly every county clerk is requiring a Social Security number as a condition of receiving a marriage license," said Hedy Weinberg, director of the Tennessee office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It's a misinterpretation (of the law)," Weinberg said. "There's a state statute that requires individuals to disclose their Social Security numbers when obtaining a marriage license, if they have one, but it certainly doesn't require you to have a Social Security number, or proof of legal residency."

The policy of recording Social Security numbers on marriage licenses came about in response to a federal law that was designed to make it easier for the government to track down parents who refuse to pay child support.

The obvious question for the Davidson County Clerk's office is if they didn't believe this person's passport and visa were valid and that she was not who she said she was, why didn't they have her taken into custody and turned over to the Department of Homeland Security? After all, she could be a terrorist, what with all that fake ID and stuff.

But seriously, even when immigrants do everything by they book they are being discriminated against. This is the result of standard right-wing wedge issue tactics that divide us instead of uniting us as promised. What's next, a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, both of whom must be natural born citizens?