Judge Who Used Gay Marriage As Excuse To Deny Divorce Gets Reprimanded

January 6, 2016 11:22 a.m.

A Tennessee judge who said the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage prevented him from divorcing a local couple has been reprimanded by a state judicial conduct board, the ABA Journal reported.

Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand of an order written by Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton last August that suggested that the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges meant the state judge no longer had the ability to grant a divorce to a local couple seeking it at the time.

“The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces,” Atherton wrote in the order.

In the order, Atheron also said “implantation of apparently new ‘super-federal-judicial’ form of benign and benevolent government, termed ‘krytocracy’ by some and ‘judi-idiocracy’ by others, with its iron fist and limp wrist, represents quite a challenge for a state level trial court.”

According to the Board’s letter — filed Dec. 23 — Atherton participated in its investigation into the order and “recognized that the order as written could have been misunderstood as undermining in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.”

Atherton ultimately granted the divorce after vacating the initial order, the ABA Journal said.

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