A US judge has rejected a couple’s divorce petition, arguing that the country’s recently introduced same-sex marriage laws have confused the social institution.
Married in 2002, Tennessee couple Thomas and Pamela Bumgardner filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct.
However, Jeffrey Atherton, who presides over Hamilton County, said he cannot grant the couple a divorce because the US Supreme Court did not clarify “when a marriage is no longer a marriage” when it passed historic legislation allowed same-sex unions in June.
“With the US Supreme Court having defined what must be recognised 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, according to the Times Free Press.
Atherton has been accused of “unnecessary grandstanding” over the Bumgardner’s case in order to express his opinion on the landmark Supreme Court ruling, which was met with celebrations across the country.
Regina Lambert, an attorney who represented plaintiffs from Tennessee in the Supreme Court case, told The Guardian: “I think the chancellor was really making more of a statement of his personal feelings as opposed to having a legitimate concern over the divorce laws.
“It’s unnecessary grandstanding by the judge so he can express disapproval,” she said.
LGBT rights across the globe
LGBT rights across the globe
Russia’s antipathy towards homosexuality has been well established following the efforts of human rights campaigners. However, while it is legal to be homosexual, LGBT couples are offered no protections from discrimination. They are also actively discriminated against by a 2013 law criminalising LGBT “propaganda” allowing the arrest of numerous Russian LGBT activists. (Picture: Riot police hold an LGBT activist during a Moscow rall.)
Men who are found having sex with other men face stoning, while lesbians can be imprisoned, under Sharia law. However, the state has not reportedly executed anyone for this ‘crime’ since 1987. (Picture: Chinguetti Mosque, Mauritania.)
3/7 Saudi Arabia
Homosexuality and transgender is illegal and punishable by the death penalty, imprisonment, corporal punishment, whipping and chemical castration. (Picture: The emblem of Saudi Arabia above the embassy in London.)
Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
The official position within the country is that there are no gays. LGBT inviduals, if discovered by the government, are likely to face intense pressure. Punishments range from flogging to the death penalty. (Picture: Yemen's southern port of Aden.)
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal and in some northern states punishable with death by stoning. This is not a policy enacted across the entire country, although there is a prevalent anti-LGBT agenda pushed by the government. In 2007 a Pew survey established that 97 per cent of the population felt that homosexuality should not be accepted. It is publishable by 14 years in prison. (Picture: The northern Nigerian town of Damasak.)
Homosexuality was established as a crime in 1888 and under new Somali Penal Code established in 1973 homosexual sex can be punishable by three years in prison. (Picture: Families use a boat to cross a flooded Shebelle River, in Jowhar.)
Although same-sex relationships have been decriminalised, much of the population still suffer from intense discrimination. Additionally, in some of the country over-run by the extremist organisation Isis, LGBT individuals can face death by stoning. (Picture: Purported Isis fighters in Iraq.)
Meanwhile in Kentucky, a court clerk has been jailed for refusing to issue same-sex wedding permits.
Kim Davis, a 49-year-old apostolic Christian, said that she would not issue the licenses under an office policy she created following the Supreme Court ruling.
“Personal opinions, including my own, are not relevant to today,” US District Judge David Bunning, told Mr Davis at a court hearing on Thursday.
Mrs Davis husband Joe said that his wife’s office are now issue licenses because the judge is forcing them, The Washington Post reported.Reuse content