A Mississippi judge has rejected a
woman's request for a divorce from her estranged wife.
Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham and Dana
Ann Melancon married in California in 2008 but lived together in
Mississippi until they split in 2010.
The 51-year-old Czekala-Chatham, who
filed for the divorce in September, told the AP that the judge
appeared sympathetic but concluded that he could not grant her a
divorce because her California marriage was not recognized in
“I would have liked to have had the
divorce,” she said, “but either way he ruled, it was going to be
Legislators in 1997 approved a law that
says a marriage between two people of the same gender is “null and
void from the beginning.” Mississippi voters overwhelmingly (86%)
approved in 2004 a constitutional amendment which defines marriage as
a heterosexual union.
Czekala-Chatham could file for a
divorce in California but without Mississippi recognition enforcement
would be difficult. The couple purchased a house together before
their relationship soured and Czekala-Chatham has two teenage sons
from a previous marriage to a man.
“Why should I be treated differently,
you know?” Czekala-Chatham
said. “When the courthouse is a few blocks from here, I should
be able to walk up there and get married. I should also be able to
go up there and get divorced.”
She said that she would appeal the