Chattanooga, TN- A heterosexual couple in Tennessee had their request for a divorce denied by a judge who said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which paved the way for same-sex marriage prevented him from making a ruling.
In his ruling, handed down on Sept. 3rd, Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton the U.S. Supreme Court must decide “when a marriage is no longer a marriage.” Until then, Judge Atherton asserts that courts are unable to deal with divorce and marriage litigation, according to the Times Free Press.
According to the Times Free Press, Atherton wrote in his opinion, “The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces.”
Judge Atherton was overseeing the divorce of a heterosexual couple who cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason behind their split. The couple, both of whom are in their sixties, have no children or other issues to settle, so their divorce would seem pretty straightforward. After four days of testimony, Judge Atherton did not see that the couple’s marriage was irretrievably broken and denied their petition for divorce.
Although the couple are being unjustly punished for the high court’s ruling, they nor their divorce lawyer wanted to make a statement about the ruling.
While most courts are clear on what justifies a divorce and have been for decades, Judge Atherton said that since the high court ruling Tennesseans are incapable of defining marriage and, therefore, divorce.
It should be pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court specifically pertained to marriage and did not change any divorce laws or how divorce is defined.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which gave same-sex couples the right to marry, there has been much debate about the matter, primarily from Christians who have religious objections to the ruling and now some people are using their official positions to protest the same-sex marriage ruling. Judge Atherton is just the latest.
The most notable objector is Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, who has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming that her religious beliefs forbid her from doing her job. Davis, who has been married four times, was ruled in contempt of court on Sept. 3 and sent to jail, according to PBS News.
Although, Judge Atherton did not state that his religious beliefs as the reason behind the ruling, it would be an easy conclusion to come to as he bio on TNCourts.gov website states he is a Deacon for a Baptist Church. And, unfortunately, as an elected official, it would be difficult to remove him from his duties as a judge, as is the case with Kim Davis.
This case is an example of why an estranged couple needs a divorce law firm in Tennessee assisting them with their dissolution. While this is an unusual case and most divorces aren’t denied, there are circumstances that can become a hurdle in divorce cases and couple wants to have all of their bases covered just in case they hit an unanticipated snag. Couples need someone on their side who can help them overcome any hurdles they encounter whether it may be an issue over child custody or a questionable court ruling.
If you want an outstanding divorce lawyer working on your case, USAttorneys can help you find one near your location.