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Mississippi Supreme Court grants same-sex divorce
Mississippi Supreme Court grants same-sex divorce

[JURIST] The Mississippi Supreme Court [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Thursday that same-sex divorce is legal within the state. In a 5-4 decision, the high court granted the divorce order citing to the recent US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges [opinion, PDF] as the main legal authority. The case was brought by Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham who sought a divorce from her wife Dana Melancon. A lower court judge refused to grant a divorce in 2013, citing Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban. In a dissent from Thursday’s ruling, Justice Jess Dickinson opined that the Supreme Court may have overstepped its authority:

And while it is true that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution obligates state courts to follow the United States Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretations, even when they disagree with those interpretations, there is substantial support from legal scholars that state courts are not required to recognize as legitimate legal authority a Supreme Court decision that is no way a constitutional interpretation, but rather is a legislative act by a judicial body that is—as Chief Justice Roberts put it—a decision that “has no basis in the Constitution or [United States Supreme Court] precedent.”

The debate surrounding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has continued following the a href=”/paperchase/2015/06/supreme-court-strikes-down-same-sex-marriage-bans.php”>Obergefell [JURIST report] decision in June. In September the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a motion [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky asking the court to enforce orders relating to the issuance of marriage licenses after county clerk Kim Davis refused to comply. In July a federal judge issued a court order [JURIST report] that all Louisiana officials must grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier that month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama issued an order [JURIST report] that all Alabama counties must abide by the Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. In June the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a law that would allow some court officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs, overriding a veto [JURIST report] by Governor Pat McCroy.