Attorney Mark Chinn Moderates Discussion on Gay Marriage Impact on Family Law

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Mark Chinn, founder of Chinn & Associates, PC, moderates panel discussion on the impact the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage has on the practice of family law.

Attorney Mark Chinn

Attorney Mark Chinn

The strong sentiment of the group was that the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act would not withstand Constitutional attack, although there was dissent to this opinion.

Attorney Mark Chinn recently moderated the Second Annual Family Law Panel, hosted by MC Law’s Family Law Society at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, on the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage on the practice of family law. Discussion was also had on the impact of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act on the obligation of judges, court personnel and others to comply with the Supreme Court decision.

“Panel members and members of the audience all commented that the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges*(wherein the U.S. Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide) basically ‘turns upside down’ traditional laws on the impact of sexual preference on marriage, custody, fault in divorce, adoption and equitable distribution,” said Chinn, who focuses solely on family law. “For example, homosexual relationships have never been regarded in Mississippi as ‘adultery,’ but rather as ‘cruelty.’”

After Obergefell v. Hodges, added Chinn, most panel and audience members believed homosexual relationships would now constitute adultery. Discussion at the panel also focused on the interesting question of whether or not judges could opt out of enforcing the Obergefell decision on the basis of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act, which promises that the state government will not punish people who refuse to provide services to people because of a religious opposition to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex or transgender people. The consensus of the approximately 120 practicing attorneys and law students in attendance was that when public officials are sworn into office they must enforce the law whether they agree with it or not; however, it was observed that there was no specific requirement in the Mississippi law requiring public officials, such as judges, to enforce the law.

“The strong sentiment of the group was that the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act would not withstand Constitutional attack, although there was dissent to this opinion,” said Chinn, who for eight consecutive years has been selected as a Mid-South Super Lawyer. “I also pointed out to the group that while they were filing in for the discussion it was reported that the City of Los Angeles had resolved to boycott both Mississippi and North Carolina for passage of Religious Freedom Acts.”
*Obergefell v. Hodges: Case No. 14–556/Supreme Court of the United States

About Chinn & Associates, PC
Chinn & Associates practices solely in the field of family law. Mark Chinn has received the “Top Ten Attorney Award” from the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, has been selected as a Premier 100 Trial Attorney by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and is listed among the Best Law Firms in Mississippi by U.S. News & World Report. Chinn is the author of three books on family law published by the American Bar Association. For more information, please call (601) 366-4410, or visit The law office is located at 4316 Old Canton Road, Suite 200, Jackson, MS 39211. You may download the free “chinnandassociates” app in your app store.

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