Law professor says marriage refusal is legally questionable - - Jackson, MS

Law professor says marriage refusal is legally questionable

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Two Yazoo County Justice Court judges say they won't perform any more marriages. They sent a letter to the supervisors that references Mississippi law. It says they "may" perform marriages, not "shall".

"The Supreme Court has already given them and everybody in the United States of America their decision and I think that everybody should abide by it," said Denise McLaughlin. 

"I believe that the Bible is true,"  added Deborah Kimble. "That's first what I want to say. And I think that it was meant from man and a lady to get married."

That's two different opinions, but there's one voice coming from Yazoo County Justice Court judges. They're not marrying anyone. Mississippi College Law professor Matt Steffey said the timing of this makes it questionable.

"At the end of the day, fidelity to the rule of law, adhering to the rule of law, law and order, only matters if you're willing to obey those laws you disagree with," Steffey explained.

Those Justice Court Judges are making a blanket decision not to marry anyone. But can they do that legally?

"It's problematic," Steffey said. "Had they at the day they took office decided they weren't going to marry anyone, I don't think there would be any ability to challenge it."

Steffey notes there are two steps to getting married. First, getting the license. Then, having someone solemnize the marriage, meaning perform the ceremony.

"More people can solemnize of marriage than issue a license," described Steffey. "So, I think most of the legal action is going to be around issuing a license."

He thinks clerks who try to get out of the marriage business will be in more legal hot water because there are fewer of them.

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