MISSISSIPPI: State Supreme Court To Hear Same-Sex Divorce Case

Via the Associated Press:

The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 21 from a woman who wants the state to recognize her same-sex marriage in order to grant a divorce. In 2013, DeSoto County Chancery Judge Mitchell Lundy Jr. ruled that the Mississippi Constitution and statutes prevented him from granting a divorce to Lauren Czekala-Chatham and Dana Ann Melancon. They married in San Francisco in 2008 and bought a house in Mississippi before separating in 2010. They could divorce in California, but Czekala-Chatham says they shouldn’t be treated differently than straight couples. They have agreed on a division of property. Czekala-Chatham is pressing ahead with the legal challenge of Mississippi’s stance on same-sex marriage, hoping to set a precedent for same-sex couples whose parting might be less amicable. But the Mississippi attorney general’s office argues in briefs that the state’s traditional marriage laws defining and recognizing marriage as the union between one man and one woman are not unconstitutional. The attorney general said Mississippi is not required to recognize California same-sex marriage for purposes of granting Czekala-Chatham a divorce.

It’s possible that the case will be made moot by the any-day-now ruling in a separate case to overturn Mississippi’s marriage ban. However that ruling, should it go our way, will likely be stayed pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court.