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Sponsor of Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban in messy divorce

Sponsor of Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban in messy divorce

A Tennessee state senator sponsoring a state constitutional amendment aimed at "solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman" is accused in a divorce case of cheating on his wife. Sen. Jeff Miller, a Republican from Cleveland, is accused of "inappropriate marital conduct" in a divorce complaint filed February 25 in Bradley County. The senator's March 2 answer to the complaint "vehemently denies" any inappropriate marital conduct. "He is very hypocritical, fighting for the sanctity of marriage and not keeping his own," the senator's wife of 15 years, Bridgitte Suzanne Miller, said in a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Miller, chairman of the senate Republican caucus, acknowledged the divorce in a statement Thursday. "Divorce is a very difficult time for everyone," he said. "It is a very private matter, which is played out in public proceedings. My chief concern right now is the best interest of our children." The senator's wife said Wednesday her husband was involved with a woman in Nashville. She said family members saw him with the woman at a Martina McBride concert. "He told them that she was just a friend," Bridgitte Miller said. "That really bothered me." The Tennessee senate approved Miller's marriage protection amendment February 22. In addition to defining marriage as "the historical institutional and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman," it would also forbid state recognition of same-sex marriages. Miller stopped an attempt to include a constitutional ban on adultery in the amendment. Court records show his wife has custody of the couple's three minor children, and the senator has agreed to pay $3,000 a month in child support, with Saturday visitation privileges. "We are very amicable and are talking every day. We remain close throughout this period," Miller said in his statement. "We have tried to work things out; however, it has become apparent over the last week or so that we have irreconcilable differences." Miller, 42, is acting as his own lawyer in the case. (AP)

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