Hernando Mom Fights For Same-Sex Divorce

Hernando Mom Fights For Same-Sex Divorce

A Hernando, MS woman wants to do what more than 50% of married people do in this country- get a divorce. But in this case, the mother of two faces a serious legal fight.
HERNANDO, MS (localmemphis.com)--A Hernando, MS woman wants to do what more than 50% of married people do in this country-get a divorce. But in this case, the mother of two faces a serious legal fight. To get a divorce, she needs Mississippi to first recognize her same sex marriage.

"I just want to be treated like any other human being who walks into the court and is asking for a divorce," said Lauren Czekala-Chatam. 

Czekala-Chatam says she was married in California in 2008, and separated in July 2010. Since, she's been busy with her two sons, and finishing school, only recently getting the time and energy to file for divorce.

"I would like to protect the interest of my children, their inheritance, future social security benefits for her and I," she said. "I just want to be treated like any other human being who walks into the court and is asking for a divorce."

Czekala-Chatam says she could go back to California to get her divorce proceedings started. The state makes it easier for same-sex couples to get divorces, but can't handle complex issues like property ownership, debt, and alimony.

"I am not really out to make a statement, I am just wanting to be treated like an average citizen, not a second class citizen where I have to jump through hoops in one state go to another state," she said.

"Heterosexual people go to Las Vegas everyday and get married. They go back home to their home states and it doesn't work, Do they got back to Vegas and get divorced? They file in the state they live in, I live here," Czekala-Chatam added.

Czekala-Chatam will be in court Tuesday morning for a hearing on her divorce proceedings. She says she's prepared to fight this to the Mississippi Supreme Court, saying she has no other choice.

"Since Mississippi doesn't recognize gay marriages, I suspect she may encounter some difficulty in getting Mississippi courts to grant her divorce," said Steve Mulroy, a law professor at the University of Memphis.

"I think it is going to be an uphill battle definietely," she said. "I took the marriage seriously and I want a divorce."
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