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Judge refuses to grant couple's divorce

Most Florida readers are aware that a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling has served to legitimize same-sex marriage across the nation. The landmark case has led to a great deal of debate, and has given many couples a reason to celebrate. That said, there have been negative outcomes associated with the ruling, some of which have affected individuals who have no stake in the topic of same-sex marriage. An example is found in one judge's refusal to issue a divorce to a heterosexual couple, based on the Supreme Court case regarding gay marriage.

The couple went before the court fully prepared to conclude their divorce case. They filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. The judge in the case listened to testimony from seven witnesses, and reviewed 77 exhibits. However, at the conclusion of that hearing, the judge refused to grant the couple the divorce they sought.

The judge stated that the Supreme Court decision means that only the federal court has the authority to determine issues of marriage. He further reasoned that only the highest court could decide matters of contested divorce, as well. As a result, he ruled that he had no jurisdiction in the matter, and sent the couple away essentially married against their will.

This outcome is unusual, in that the judge appears to be using the case to make a political statement about the recent Supreme Court ruling. There have been other examples across the nation, but it is important to note that many thousands of divorces have been successfully completed in Florida and elsewhere since the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. Unfortunately for this couple, they will now have to re-approach the court to seek a divorce under new grounds, and hope for a different outcome.  

Source:, "Tennessee judge refuses straight couple's divorce, citing SCOTUS gay marriage", Sept. 7, 2015

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