Mississippi judge refuses to grant gay couple's divorce

JACKSON, Miss. - A woman who filed for divorce from her wife says a Mississippi judge has refused to grant it because the marriage wasn't recognized under state law.

Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham was married in California, and she filed for the divorce in September in DeSoto County in north Mississippi. She says the judge seemed sympathetic, and she plans to appeal Monday's ruling.

Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood's office argued that Mississippi can't grant a divorce in a marriage it doesn't recognize.

In 2004, 86 percent of Mississippi voters approved an amendment placing a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution.

Czekala-Chatham and Dana Ann Melancon got married in San Francisco in 2008 and lived together in Mississippi.

They could get a divorce in California, but Czekala-Chatham says she shouldn't have to.


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