SCOTUS redefining States Rights.
A Tennessee judge has denied a divorce petition because of the US supreme court decision allowing gay marriage, leaving a couple married against their wishes.
Hamilton County chancellor Jeffrey Atherton denied the couple’s divorce petition last week, claiming the national marriage equality ruling had marred Tennessee’s ability to determine what constitutes divorce.
Atherton’s reasoning to deny the petition was that the supreme court had not clarified “when a marriage is no longer a marriage”, the Times Free Press reported.
“With the US Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’s judiciary must now await the decision of the US Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage,” Atherton wrote in the order.
“The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the US Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces,” Atherton wrote.
The couple, Thomas and Pamela Bumgardner, were married in November 2002 and filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct, which Atherton said was never proved. Attorneys for the couple did not immediately respond to Guardian requests for comment.