An East Tennessee judge is refusing to grant a divorce to a married couple in their sixties. According to KnoxNews.com, among the several reasons the judge has cited for rejecting the couple's divorce was the United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states.
As first reported by the Chattanooga Free Times Press, Thomas Bumgardner, 65 and his wife, Pamela, 61 were married in November 2002. They had no children together and filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences.
But when they appeared in court, Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton denied their petition after hearing from seven witnesses and going through 77 exhibits. Among several reasons he cited in rejecting the couple's divorce, one was the Supreme Court's June ruling.
"The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces," Atherton wrote.
According to BallotPedia, Atherton was elected to the court in 2010 to replace a retiring chancellor. He was reelected in 2014 running unopposed in both the Republican primary and general election. His current eight-year term ends in 2022.
The Bumgardners, are still free to file for divorce again, they just have to come up with different reasons for wanting the split.