Miss. governor intervenes in same-sex divorce case

JACKSON, MISS. — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is intervening in a case involving a woman who wants the state to recognize her same-sex marriage in order to grant a divorce.

The Republican governor, represented by Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, is opposing Lauren Czekala-Chatham’s appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The high court said Monday that it would hear the case instead of assigning it to the Court of Appeals. Tuesday, justices approved Bryant’s motion to intervene. It’s unclear if the court will hear oral arguments or when it might rule.

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.

The women 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 she shouldn’t be treated differently than straight couples. Melancon objected to the divorce but later agreed to a binding settlement splitting the couple’s property even though the divorce was denied.

Sunherald
9/17/14