MISSISSIPPI REFUSES TO MAKE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE A GROUND FOR DIVORCE

Domestic violence will not become one of the grounds for getting a divorce in Mississippi after a House committee chairman declined to take up the proposal.

Tuesday morning, on a deadline for bills to pass out of committee or die, the House Judiciary B Committee took up several routine bills before Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, announced that he would not take up Senate Bill 2703, which would have made domestic violence the 13th ground for divorce in Mississippi.

Earlier in the year, two similar House bills died in Gipson’s committee. Gipson, an attorney and Baptist pastor, said he has some fundamental concerns about the bill. Similar measures have also failed in previous years.

“At a time I think we need to be adopting policies that promote marriage and people sticking together, I have some serious concerns about opening the floodgates any more than they already are,” Gipson said. “I think the floodgates are already open and this just tears the dam down.”

Gipson said that inhuman treatment is already a grounds for divorce and that attorneys may need to receive more education about that fact before the Legislature passes additional legislation.

Gipson also declined to consider a bill that would make bona fide separation a grounds for divorce, saying that it would allow a person to leave and then have grounds for divorce against “the innocent person.”

“We need to have policies that strengthen marriage. If a person is abusive, they need to have a change in behavior and change of heart,” Gipson said.

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