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Judge Jeffrey Atherton

Same-sex marriage may not be destroying marriage as we’ve known it since Biblical times, but it is destroying divorce, at least in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A Tennessee judge refused to grant a straight couple a divorce, at least in part, because of same-sex marriage. Judge Jeffrey M. Atherton cited from the Obergefell decision when denying a couple in their 60s a divorce after 20 years of marriage:

“The Tennessee Court of Appeals has noted that Obergefell v. Hodges, affected what is, and must be recognized as, a lawful marriage in the State of Tennessee. This leaves a mere trial level Tennessee state court judge in a bit of a quandary. With the U.S. 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 U.S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage. The majority’s opinion in Obergefell, regardless of its patronizing and condescending verbiage, is now the law of the land, accurately described by Justice Scalia as a naked judicial claim to legislative — indeed, super-legislative — power.”

Clearly the judge doesn’t care for the Obergefell decision, and decided to make a point of it by denying the couple a divorce because, he claims, the federal government preempts states from regulating marriage.

No word from him whether he plans to dismiss all divorces that come before his court.