Same-Sex Divorce Before Mississippi Supreme Court May Set Precedent Across U.S.

Orange County, CA (Law Firm Newswire) January 26, 2015 - The state of Mississippi does not recognize same-sex marriages. A divorce case before that state’s Supreme Court may change the national marital landscape.

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In 2013, a Mississippi County Chancery Judge ruled the state’s constitution and statutes forbade him from granting a divorce to a same-sex couple. The women were married in California in 2008, and could have obtained a divorce in that state. However, they moved to Mississippi to buy a home and ended up going their separate ways in 2010.

The foundation of the argument before the Supreme Court was that gay couples have the same rights as traditional couples when it comes to marriage and divorce, and therefore they deserve the same protection under the 14th Amendment.

“This amounted to a test case,” said Gerald Maggio, an Orange County, Calif. divorce attorney, “where the lawyer of record and his client were hoping to set a precedent for the future in same-sex divorces.”

Rather than asking churches or other religious organizations to change their point-of-view on gay marriages, the case at hand singly focused on obtaining the same marital rights for gay couples as exist for straight couples and same-sex couples in other states.

In the process, the decision to indeed grant a divorce in Mississippi to a same-sex couple, handed down November 25, may result in the eventual overturning of the ban on same-sex marriages. There is an appeal pending on this decision, and same-sex marriages are still not permitted until that appeal is resolved.

“This case was not without its political side either,” added Maggio. “Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood asked the court to stand steadfast and hold to the state’s insistence that marriage is only between an man and a woman.”

On appeal, this case may well have legal ramifications for other states that ban gay marriages.

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