Same-sex couple calls it quits, needs MS permission for divorce - - Jackson, MS

Same-sex couple calls it quits, needs MS permission for divorce

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-south same-sex couple is calling it quits. But they have to get the state to recognize the marriage, first.

There is a lot of paperwork, but only one goal for Lauren Czekala-Chatham.

"I just want a divorce," she said.

A divorce from her same-sex partner. The two were legally married in California. The trouble is, the state of Mississippi does not recognize unions between gay couples.

"That's what's going to make this extremely interesting because we believe it's the first case," said attorney Wesley Hisaw.

Chatham and her lawyer, Wesley Hisaw, believe their case will be the first time a gay couple has asked the state of Mississippi to recognize its' union for the purpose of divorce.

"I would like to protect my sons and any inheritance that they may have because it does concern me that she could go after that as a spouse," said Chatham.

Parts of the Defense of Marriage Act were ruled unconstitutional this summer. And now, Chatham's attorney says the decision brings new challenges for same sex couples looking to end their marriage.

"Obviously, there will be issue of property division, alimony, certain debts that parties incurred during the marriage," said Hisaw.

Chatham says she is not trying to change Mississippi laws regarding gay rights, but she is not opposed to the idea either.

"I mean if something else were to come out good besides me getting a divorce, that's great but my goal is to get the divorce," she said.

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