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US: Judge denies lesbian couple divorce, saying Mississippi does not recognise same-sex marriages

Joseph McCormick December 2, 2013
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A couple in the US state of Mississippi have been denied a divorce in their home state which does not allow or recognise same-sex marriages, as they married in San Francisco, where equal marriage is legal.

Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham had said that she hoped her divorce from Dana Ann Melencon, and the case, would force the state to recognise out of state same-sex marriages.

Chancellor Mitchell Lundy Jr today, however denied the divorce, and despite seeming sympathetic, said that the state could not consider the California marriage for divorce, as it is not valid in Mississippi, and the state does not recognise out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Czekala-Chatham said she was disappointed, but not surprised by the result, but is glad that it has been advanced so she can now appeal to a higher court.

The couple married in the state of California in 2008, but that they had lived together in Southaven Mississippi.

The divorce petition filed in Desoto County Chancery Court said that Czekala-Chatham can only file for divorce in her home state, where she lives.

The National Guard in the US state of Mississippi has refused to process benefits requests from Tuesday from same-sex couples, despite a directive from the Pentagon to do so.

Five lesbian couples in January applied for marriage licenses in Forrest County, Mississippi, knowing they would be denied.The effort was part of a national group’s campaign to gain equality for LGBT people across the southern states.

In June, the US Supreme Court struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. Same-sex recognition cases also have appeared in other states that ban equal marriage.

Related topics: California, Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill (Scotland), marriage equality, Mississippi, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, San Francisco, US, wedding

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