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Marriage Equality

Mississippi's Ban on Marriage Equality Forced This Couple to Stay Married

Mississippi's Ban on Marriage Equality Forced This Couple to Stay Married

AP PHOTO

State Supreme Court judges in Mississippi are still not sure about marriage equality, but they finally allowed a lesbian couple to divorce.

Marriage is forever, but for same-sex couples in states that banned marriage equality, difficulty in obtaining a divorce really hammers that point home.

Five years after they separated, a lesbian couple has finally been granted a divorce in Mississippi, though the 5-4 decision was a close call and two state Supreme Court justices still deny the legality of marriage equality, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

After years of legal battles, Lauren Czekala-Chatham (pictured above, right) was allowed to attempt to divorce Dana Ann Melancon (pictured above, left), reversing a 2013 ruling where they were denied the right to dissolve their union because Mississippi law banned marriage equality, according to TheAssociated Press.

Czekala-Chatham then appealed to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to grant her a divorce, and he denied the appeal. However, after the June 26 marriage equality ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hood reconsidered and he asked the court to allow the divorce.

In the court's divorce ruling, five justices wrote that because Hood reversed his decision, "we find no contested issues remain." Two justices called for the court to overturn its ban on marriage equality and two others wrote dissents, arguing that marriage equality was somehow unconstitutional.

Czekala-Chatham married Melancon in San Francisco in 2008 and they bought a home together in Mississippi before separating in 2010, according to The Associated Press. Czekala-Chatham told the wire service that she hopes to soon be divorced from her wife, who now lives in Arkansas.

"I'm happy this battle has been won. But the war on discrimination is still ongoing," the 53-year-old Hernando, Mississippi resident told The Associated Press on Thursday.

She told the AP that searching for a job as a credit analyst has been hard because potential employers see her involvement in this case.

"This fight has damaged my life in ways I can't recover from," she told the wire service.

Today, same-sex couples will be in federal court seeking to overturn Mississippi's ban on adoption by gay couples which is the last-in-the-nation of its kind, according to the AP.

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