Can a Judge order you to marry someone [whether you wanted to marry them or not]?
This is no rhetorical question because apparently they can, at least in Smith County, Texas. In July, Judge Randall Rogers, sentenced, Josten Bundy, to marry his 19-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes, as part of Bundy’s probation after a physical altercation with one of his Jaynes’ ex-boyfriends, saying,
“You know, as a part of my probation, you’re going to have to marry her…within 30 days.”
Bundy was told if he declined the marriage he would face two-weeks in jail beginning at sentencing without the ability to notify his employer; he was also ordered to write out Bible versus under Rogers’ ruling.
Fearing losing his job while doing time, Bundy and his girlfriend dutifully filed for their marriage license and then were married by a Justice of the Peace without the typical wedding fanfare, family, friends and festivities they had been planning due to the Judge’s time constraints.
What Is Wrong With This Picture?
Attorney Blake Bailey, who practices constitutional law, told WFSB Eyewitness news-3 that a court-order to marry is not legal; adding the sentence more than likely would have been struck down on appeal however, the couple was fearful of jail-time and of Bundy losing his job and Jaynes’ loss of income were that to happen so they took the Judge’s order seriously.
Was this ruling Constitutional? There is no known precedent for a ruling like this outside of Hollywood. This ruling is the precedent.
Did the individuals truly “consent” to the marriage without “force” as defined by FindLaw below?
“Before a marital union is recognized by a state, there must be consent or agreement between the parties of the union to be married. For consent to exist, both parties must agree to the marriage and there must be no mistake as to the nature of the union. In addition, no force must be used upon either party to enter into the union. Once consent is determined to exist, the laws of the individual states determine the status of the couple as spouses.”
The idea that a Judge can UN-Constitutionally force any individual — via fear or other means, to marry someone for any reason is ludicrous. Know your rights.
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