Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham is asking the state of Mississippi to recognize her out-of-state gay marriage to her wife Dana Ann Melacon not for marriage benefits, but so she can get a divorce according to a report by the Associated Press on September 27.
The couple were married in California but lived together in Mississippi until they separated in 2010. Although Czekala-Chatham could pursue a divorce in the state she got married, it would be less of a hassle for her to get the divorce in the state she now lives which is why she is petitioning the very conservative state of Mississippi to recognize her marriage simply for the benefits of a divorce.
Her attorny, J. Wesley Hisaw, makes it clear that a victory ruling would not mean same-sex couples would be able to marry in the state that currently bans same-sex marriage.
"My client is not looking to start gay marriage in Mississippi. she wants the marriage from another state to be recognized so she can get a divorce and protect herself."
Part of that protection is making sure that her spouse doesn't contest her will and go after her kids' inheritance if they don't get divorced. Czekala-Chatham is also seeking their house in Mississippi and alimony and admits she doesn't know any other way out of the marriage. It should be noted that her children are from a prior relationship and above all she wants to protect their future as well as their physical and mental well-being as she is alleging in the divorce petition that her wife committed adultery and habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.
According to Matt Steffey, a constitutional law professor at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, her case is a long shot because "there's no right to terminate a gay marriage in Mississippi any more than there is a right to consummate one."
If anything, Czakala-Chatham's case will raise the question of same-sex divorce and provide an example for a same-sex divorce case that may make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court someday. Until then, Laren Beth Czekala-Chatham is hoping that her case is seriously considered even if it may be a long shot.