Most Arizona readers are aware that a recent Supreme Court ruling has legitimized same-sex marriage for couples across the nation. That landmark decision has left many feeling bitter and disenfranchised, which has led to continuing debate on the issue of gay marriage. It appears that one southern judge has taken the matter a step further and has used the ruling as a legal basis for denying a heterosexual couple their divorce.
The couple in question came before the court to ask that their marriage be dissolved. As a basis for that action, they cited irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. They presented seven witnesses and 77 pieces of evidence. After hearing testimony and reviewing evidence, the judge in their case refused to issue the divorce.
In his ruling, the judge asserted that it appears that only the nation’s federal courts are deemed worthy of deciding issues of marriage. He goes on to say that, therefore, his court’s jurisdiction on the matter has been preempted, and that he has no authority to rule on matters of contested divorce. This leaves the spouses, both in their 60s, with no choice but to file again using different grounds. There is no guarantee, however, that a second attempt would be any more successful than the first.
It should be said that most Arizona residents will encounter no such difficulties in their own divorce cases. In fact, many thousands of divorces have been concluded across the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage. However, for those few couples whose divorce cases have been used to make a political statement, reaching a conclusion to their marriage may be more difficult than it might have been before the controversial ruling took place.
Source: dispatchtimes.com, “Tennessee judge refuses straight couple’s divorce, citing SCOTUS gay marriage”, Sept. 7, 2015