Tag Archives: same sex marriage

Mississippi Sued Again and it’s from unlikely Plaintiffs; Multiple Spouses, Marry a Computer, Same-Sex Marriage and the U.S. Constitution.

Mississippi has been sued in the Northern District Federal Court by self-proclaimed polygamists and a machinist. (*A “machinist” sexually objectifies tools and/or implements). Federal Lawsuit re: Polygamy.

One of the Plaintiffs wants to marry a MacBook. *(already married her/it in New Mexico)

Polygamy, the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time, made infamous by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and rooted in some Biblical precedent, is nonetheless unconstitutional.

Nearly 140 years ago Reynolds v. United States, (U.S. Sup. Ct. 1879), was decided and is still good law. Mr. Reynolds was convicted of bigamy, a crime in the territory of Utah, sentenced to two years hard labor and a $500 fine. At the trial, Mr. Reynolds sought to have a jury instruction that his religious belief allowed, or even required, multiple marriages at the same time and since he was practicing his religion he could not also be guilty of  a crime, citing the First Amendment (freedom of religion).

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, “here, as a law…of the United States, it is provided that plural marriages shall not be allowed. Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances. Id. at 166-167.

  • The bottom line in Reynolds is you can believe what you want, but you may not be able to practice, affirmatively, what you believe.

Fast forward to 2017, the now-pending lawsuit in Mississippi is seeking to prevent gay marriages, raising the constitutional Lemon Test of prohibition on government favoring one religious view over another.

The Plaintiffs argue that if gay marriage is legal, then polygamy marriage should be legal, as well as the right to marry things.

The Lemon Test details legislation concerning religion;

  1. The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. (Purpose Prong)
  2. The primary effect of the statute must not advance nor inhibit religion. (Effect Prong)
  3. The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion. (Entanglement Prong)
    1. Character and purpose of institution benefited.
    2. Nature of aid the state provides.
    3. Resulting relationship between government and religious authority.


The above treats this lawsuit as something to consider, however, it is not. The Plaintiffs are not residents of Mississippi, though have visited. One Plaintiff married his computer in New Mexico and is now complaining because Mississippi won’t recognize it as a marriage. Another Plaintiff, not a resident of Mississippi, wants to marry multiple persons, also not residents from Mississippi, in Pontotoc, and was refused a license to marry multiple persons at the same time. One Plaintiff, not a Mississippi resident, was engaged to a man who was “mean to her,” so she chose to “self-identify as a lesbian and legally marriage (sic) a woman only to discover it was ‘hell on earth.’ She now self-identifies as a polygamists” and demands the Government and Mississippi recognize it.

This lawsuit is  a farce. The arguments are nonsense. The Clarion-Ledger reporting this as if it is remotely newsworthy, which is how I viewed the article initially, is misleading.

This will be dismissed so fast he won’t have time to reboot his wife…er…computer.

Matthew Thompson is an attorney that did a face-palm when reading the actual complaint.




Mississippi; Legislating Morality in the Face of the Law

The Mississippi legislature  has been called “backwards” and compared to hissing possums.

images possum

Unfortunately, Mississippi will again bear the brunt of ridicule. House Bill 1523, if signed into law, allows state employees, and other entities, to discriminate against other citizens based upon a “sincerely held religious belief” or “moral conviction.” This means that a State employee whose job is to issue marriage licenses, for instance, can refuse because they do not approve of your spouse.

The intent is to prevent persons from entering into a same-sex marriage in the Hospitality State. Incidentally, the United States Supreme Court found that marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution. This bill, which seeks to infringe on that RIGHT also goes much further.  

If the State Employee does not want to issue you a license they can refuse for a same-sex marriage, can refuse if you were previously divorced, can refuse if you had sex out of wedlock, and I am sure there are other Leviticus-based  refusals.

This bill is simply pandering. It affords no real protections to any class in need of protection. It allows discrimination under the guise of faith. A faith which requires that we love our neighbor as ourselves, and teaches us that the one without sin may cast the first stone. It is an affront to the law.

This bill, if passes, guarantees the State will be sued and Mississippi will spend tens of thousands of dollars defending an indefensible position, to protect a class not in need of protection, to solve a problem that does not exist.

This is another example of Mississippi striving to fulfill her stereotypical destiny.

You can read the Bill here.

Matthew Thompson is an Adjunct Professor at MC Law and a Divorce Attorney encouraging you to believe in your beliefs, but follow the law.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at 

(601) 850-8000  or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

Still No Gay Marriage in MS; Same-Sex Marriage Stayed Pending Expedited Hearing

You’ve seen same-sex marriage blogged aplenty.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has extended the stay put in place by Judge Carlton Reeves after he struck down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage, finding same as unconstitutional.

The case has been fast tracked and will be heard in January, but not before 2 other cases regarding the same subject matter are set to be heard. One case originated out of Texas and the other, Louisiana. These states along with Mississippi make up the 5th Federal Circuit.

Regardless of the 5th Circuit decision, I expect this one to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, what does this mean for the average Mississippian?  The law is the same as before the Federal Court ruling, for now.

Terribly interested in this Topic, like I am? Read more below;






Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and is keeping pace with the changes in the law.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

Mississippi Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down

“Down goes Frazier!” – Or rather Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, Federal District Court Judge Carlton Reeves did two things simultaneously; 1) He struck down Mississippi’s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage paving the way for same-sex couples to finally marry in Mississippi…,but not so fast. 2) Judge Reeves also issued a stay for two weeks to allow the State of Mississippi time to appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This means the MS Constitutional ban is no longer valid, however enforcement, or rather same-sex marriage, is put on “hold” in this State pending the 5th Circuit ruling.  So more of the same for now.

The 5th Circuit has arguments set for early January regarding cases out of Texas and Louisiana over same-sex marriage prohibitions.  The 5th Circuit’s eventual ruling will apply to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Stay tuned.  New developments will be blogged as they occur.  The next round will likely be in a few months.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law in Family Law and is closely following these pending cases and the impact they will have on marriage in Mississippi.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms


Mississippi: Same-Sex Marriage and the Rational Basis Argument

Any minute Mississippi will be in the national spotlight.

At issue are two pending Federal Court cases attempting to strike down the ban on Mississippi’s Constitutional restriction against same-sex marriage, and a state law prohibiting same-sex adoption.  The arguments have been made and the matters are in the “bosom of the Court.”

The question that the Court is deciding is whether there is a “Rational Basis” for the State (Governmental entity) to restrict the rights of citizens eligible for marriage to one another.

The Rational Basis review tests whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest. Under this standard of review, the “legitimate interest” does not have to be the government’s actual interest. Rather, if the court can merely hypothesize a “legitimate” interest served by the challenged action, it will withstand the rational basis review.

During the arguments the Judge asked what is the State’s rational basis in preventing these persons from marrying and adopting.  The State’s response was “responsible procreation.”  Based on that response the Court’s ultimate task is to determine 1) is “responsible procreation” something the State has a legitimate interest in, and 2) are the State imposed restrictions rationally related to that goal.

A ruling should come swiftly and the early indications, based on the Judge’s questions and the reception of the arguments presented, are that Mississippi will be the next State to recognize and allow same-sex marriage.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law -Domestic Relations and is closely following these pending cases and the impact they will have on Mississippi Family Law.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms




Mississippi & Same Sex Marriage; The End or the Beginning?

Think about this question posed by Federal Court Judge, Carlton Reeves, yesterday:

“What is the state’s rational basis that same-sex couples can’t marry … and its prohibition of same-sex couples from adopting children when all a child wants is to be loved, and they don’t care by whom?”

At least two instances of persons challenging Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage and adoption are now pending before the Federal District Court. A number of Federal Circuit Courts have struck down similar state bans and the trend is growing.

The response to the Judge’s inquiry was “responsible procreation.”  However the days of “having” to be married to procreate have gone out the window. Additionally, it has no bearing on infertile couples, elderly couples or even prisoners, all of whom still have the legal right to marry so long as it is a person of the opposite gender.

Mississippi’s ban, I predict, is the next to be struck down. There’s not a rational basis for gender discrimination when it comes to marriage.  There are arguments on a religious basis and tradition, but neither of these arguments will carry the day, nor will responsible procreation. These cases and the Mississippi law really turn on same-gender arguments and whether there is a rational basis, the legal standard required, to place limitations on the rights of same-gender couples as opposed to purely sexual orientation arguments. Stay tuned.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law attorney, Adjunct Professor of Domestic relations, admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (pictured above) and predicting a change in Mississippi law very soon.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

Mississippi Same-Sex Divorce DENIED.

Mississippi is again in the national news.  I blogged recently about a same-sex divorce case pending in Desoto County, Mississippi.  The Court has now rendered a verdict.

An apparent reluctant Judge, bound to follow the law as written, denied a divorce to a same-sex couple.  The couple, married in California, separated in Mississippi after residing here for several years.  Upon separation one party moved to Florida with the other remaining here.  The Mississippian initially sought a contested divorce, but it appeared that the parties had come to a settlement for a no-fault (irreconcilable differences) divorce.  However, their agreement to divorce was not enough.

Mississippi law, as it currently stands, prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages in the State.  Therefor, if you do not have a marriage, you cannot get a divorce.  That is the basic logic that was applied in this instance.

Interestingly, State Attorney General Jim Hood intervened on behalf of the State.  The AG’s office argued that the Mississippi Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman and that MS has a specific statute that disallows recognizing another state’s same-sex marriage.  These arguments carried the day, at least for now.

The Mississippian, denied a divorce, plans to appeal the decision of the Chancellor and will challenge the constitutionality of Mississippi’s laws.  The ultimate conclusion will be a balancing of the State’s compelling interest in “protecting” marriage and limitations on who may and may not marry versus an individual’s right to privacy, liberty, and the right to marry.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and domestic relations adj. professor at MC Law;  Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing world of family law in which we live in.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

Mississippi in the News- A Test Case on Same-Sex Divorce

Mississippi is the site of the latest same-sex challenge to laws preventing same-sex persons from getting married and seeking a divorce.


A Mississippi resident, who married her spouse in California, is now seeking that a Mississippi Court divorce them.  The couple lived in Mississippi for some time after their marriage and ultimately separated in the Magnolia State.  The case is pending in DeSoto County Chancery court and has garnered world-wide attention.

However, it may not be a walk in the park…

MS law specifically provides that a same-sex marriage is VOID.  Void means it does not exist, not that it could if everything was just right. Void=nothing.  The law goes on to specifically deny that MS has to recognize another state’s same-sex marriage.

MCA 93-1-1, (2) Any marriage between persons of the same gender is prohibited and null and void from the beginning. Any marriage between persons of the same gender that is valid in another jurisdiction does not constitute a legal or valid marriage in Mississippi.

Now before you bash MS too much for this, it is quite common that states have different laws regarding requirements for persons to get married in their respective states.  Different laws can be allowed.  For instance you can marry your niece-in-law in California, but not in Utah.  And Utah does not have to recognize the CA marriage.  Nothing to do with same gender on that restriction.  Also, most states prohibit same-sex marriage, only 14 states allow same-sex marriage, at this time.

There are several issues that are apparent in this MS pending matter.

Issue #1.  MS law, which at this time is valid and constitutional by the way, disallows their “marriage” to be recognized as a marriage.  And, if no marriage, then there can be no divorce.

Issue #2.  The Mississippian sued her spouse on Habitual Cruel and Inhuman Treatment.  The parties had been separated for over 3 years by the time of filing which may be an indicator of limited grounds regarding cruelty, which is one of the most difficult grounds to prove.  So there may not be a divorce on cruelty anyway, as the plaintiff could not meet her burden of proof.

Issue #3.   The Mississippian sued her spouse for Adultery.  Adultery, in Mississippi, is defined as “sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex, not your spouse.” Despite this being the Bible Belt, it is possible that Mrs. Defendant is in another relationship with another person, of her same sex, and is still not committing “adultery.” Technically speaking, of course.

Issue #4.   The Constitution’s Full Faith & Credit clause.  FF&C requires that a valid Order from one State be recognized in another.  The catch is a Marriage is not an Order, but rather a contractual arrangement between the two spouses and the state that they are being married in.  This means a  marriage is not entitled to Full Faith and Credit.  Interestingly, a divorce would be, assuming the Jurisdictional/residency requirements were met.

So, some legal mumbo-jumbo and a refrain from a little common sense results in…nothing.  That is exactly what this litigant will get from Mississippi and will likely get it in abundance.  Stay tuned for more developments.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and domestic relations adj. professor at MC Law;  Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing world of family law in which we live in.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms