Domestic violence as grounds for divorce killed by committee chair

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Gil Ford Photography

Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton

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.

UPDATE: Gipson: “I have a solution” for issue of domestic violence and divorce

UPDATE: House passes domestic violence provisions as an amendment

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.

Sandy Middleton, executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl, agrees that abusers need more education, but adds that intervention programs are not offered in all counties and often lack funding, putting the burden on small nonprofits to do such training.

She adds that inhumane treatment is difficult to prove because the law requires someone to corroborate, which she says is often the children who live in the abusive households. In some cases, when abuse victims have filed for divorce and have criminal charges against their abuser, judges dismiss the criminal charges believing the victim wants to use the criminal charges as leverage in the divorce.

I would encourage our leading legislators to sit down with victims who are struggling not just with divorce but with living their lives. I think it would shed some light on the seriousness of this issue,” Middleton said.

Executive director of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence Wendy Mahoney agreed that keeping families together is important, “However, there are extenuating circumstances that do exist in many situations.”

Mahoney said her organization worked with senators to draft the bill. Although the current law does include inhumane treatment, she added it is very difficult to provide adequate evidence or proof. By the time someone tries to get a divorce, it is likely not an isolated situation or the first time an incident occurred, she said.

“Realistically, to be called domestic violence it is a pattern,” Mahoney said. “If that already exists in our current definition by law, then why does a person have to go above and beyond to prove that?”

Moving forward, she thinks the Legislature and advocates need to focus on educating the public about domestic abuse and examine “how we can best work to support those individuals who are feeling helpless and hopeless when they are involved in those relationships.”

Editor’s note: Tiffany Graves serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Violence Prevention. Graves also serves on the Board of Directors of Mississippi Today. 

 

  • Lou Ann Reid

    Just explain to me what better grounds for a divorce could there be then being beaten by your spouse. What a stupid statement to make to think that someone who beats his/her spouse needs to have a change in behavior and a change of heart – they need to go to jail. I guess you also condone them beating on their children? Because that what’s come next. Shame on you.

    • olemissmom

      He probably means wife should “change” and she won’t get hit any more. What an a$$.

    • mrg01

      Mental abuse is just as bad!

      • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

        Yes it is

        • mrg01

          Men generally are the ones doing the physical abuse, but women do mental abuse and blame it on PMS. Either way the Biblical definition of marriage doesn’t exist.

          • Julie Bell

            Well you don’t generally get physical abuse *without* mental abuse, not to mention sexual, spiritual and financial abuse.

      • Lynda Naatz Richter

        Mental abuse IS domestic violence. Just an earlier stage. It is notice that it’s time to get out or get serious help.

    • Thubitsy

      Being ex law enforcement and even though I am a male, a victem of abuse, I agree with you. There are very few abusers that change because then they feel they lose their control and power over their victem, and they will lie through their teeth if they go through treatment or counciling. I think that this guy is more of an ignorant ass and wants to push his beliefs than actually help the victims. I know we went to a councillor and after the second visit he said we actually needed to just get divorced. When these people find themselves actually fixing to lose their control or victem, they will resort to whatever means it takes to keep the victem or even go as far as murdering them, I worked enough abuse cases and mine tried to poison me to keep her control, so I think this guy is entirely off base, and he should receive some training other than what his religion offers.

    • TonyS

      Lou Ann, you are absolutely right. If a husband is beating his wife…that’s it, end of the marriage. What education will stop the husband from becoming violent? How can the partnership continue in a loving and understanding relationship, wherby a husband and wife have different opinions but, the husband strikes his wife because they disagree. How many times is a wife prepared to forgive after the first attack?
      The violence will continue!!!

      • Javafutter

        There is never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever a good reason to beat a spouse or child. Never.

    • Colleen Rudolph

      Being beaten by your spouse is certainly inhumane treatment as is verbal abuse controlling behavior and many other things that are NOT chargeable under most current statutes. I question whether only the children witness domestic abuse. In my experience most people who commit it are out of control and there are always witnesses. Getting people to get involved is the real problem. People don’t want to pry.

      • anomaly

        In my experience the abuser often acts charming or even shy in front of other people but returns to the abusive and controlling personality when out of sight from others.

        • Suzanne Davis

          Definitely. Thank you for making that point.

      • Javafutter

        I’ve done years of work on Family Violence with professionals and with families. People who abuse their spouses do a great job of hiding that abuse. They hit in areas that are covered by clothes and they make sure that if the victim says anything to anyone she will be beaten even further.

        The real terrorism in our country is family violence and abuse. And it is ignored by most of our country and the media.

        The fact that this legislator can get away with this and not feel the wrath of the people tells you how frightened so many are at uncovering this war on families.

  • Otis

    “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.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7f73efe497712fbffd05fb17d9cc184ec2dc3f5a2f7d22ac2691b07ff4065e79.jpg

    Rep. Andy Gipson should be ashamed of himself.

    • Kathy Parker

      I agree

      • theresaliveranimapes

        Mississippi should boycott this

        • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

          Yes we should I’m in

      • Jody Mikkelsen

        I agree.

    • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

      Not just ashamed, how dare he, we need to fight this, I got out of abusive relationship (marriage that is) so I don’t gave any rights of how a person treat me & talk to me really??

    • Leigh Vice

      This fool is living in a dream world!! Looking at the world through rose colored glasses!!! Once the abuse starts it never stops. The end result is someone gets killed…

      • Javafutter

        He doesn’t have rose colored glasses. He just seems to believe that men should have dominion over women. He’s not an optimistic fool. He’s aiding and abetting criminal behavior and he’s just fine with it.

        • Otis

          Abusers are about total control. No woman should have to endure a beating just to make Mr. Gibson feel good about marriage.

    • Javafutter

      A little more than 10 years ago Virginia passed a Mandated Reporters law calling on teachers, nurses and other care providers to report suspicions of abuse. In the process of creating a training video for those folks the Doctor who runs the pediatric Emergency Department at VCU Health showed me these types of forensic photos of children. I also did extensive interviews with repeated victims of family violence and abuse.

      I can watch a kidney transplant with my own eyes and not be the least bothered by what I see. But when I saw those photos I was filled with both nausea and rage.

      Republicans are projectionists. They project their worst traits onto their political opponents and claim good traits that their opponents actually possess.

      They talk about “Family Values” they then pass laws that are detrimental to families and show little values at all. They refuse to provide good healthcare to low income families. They refuse to call for wage fairness to help working families have a decent place to live and decent food to eat and clothes to wear. And of course they reject bills like this.

      They are as anti Family Values as a political party could possibly be.

  • Otis

    Email: agipson@house.ms.gov
    Twitter @repandygipson

    • Leigh Vice

      Thanks for the info…he will hear from me tonight!

  • disqus_lWwzrwNaw6
  • Thile

    Welcome to Mississippi: where you can wrap yourself in the nation’s longest-serving participation trophy, shoot your dog, and beat your spouse.

    • theresaliveranimapes

      I agree
      That state is sick.

      • I can promise you that not everyone in Mississippi agrees with Rep. Gipson’s statements/beliefs. I’m from, and live in Mississippi, and I completely disagree with him. And I’m sure there are a whole lot more Mississippians who wouldn’t agree with him either.

        • Old Age Pensioner

          unfortunately we keep re-electing religious idiots like him so they can spread their version of reality onto the rest of us

          • Leigh Vice

            So true, add Billy Hudson, Pigott all great supporters of Farm Bureau and numerous others (don’t forget Tate Reeves, Gunn) that see to it no animal rights laws are ever passed. Why are these fools always re-elected? People have short memories or are just plain stupid.

          • ajjaner

            How’s the gerrymandering situation in Mississippi? Is that why these chuckleheads stay around?

          • Beabe Campbell

            I would be sure to guess so! Many of the good people have lost home for a change!

          • Beabe Campbell

            Uneducated is the MAIN cause! They keep cutting education here! They like their constituents as stupid as can be we perfect ingrance here and we are damn proud of it! So it seems because actions scream volumes!

        • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

          I’m not from Mississippi but I have lived here a lot of years, I don’t agree with this in any way

        • Beabe Campbell

          I have to disagree with that we keep putting them in office if they are Repugnitons just like him! I was born here and still am stuck here and I lived to tell the truth!

    • Elizabeth

      I hope his current spouse, if he has one believes in the Bobbit form of justice then!!

      • Kathleen Ezeh

        Was just thinking the same thing.

    • Leigh Vice

      Why do people keep on voting for such an idiot?????

  • Diva-Rachel Envy Gilmore

    would they prefer to bury the wives ? smfh

    • Elizabeth

      Well that would go with their religious mumbo jumbo, “till death do them part”…this guy
      is nuts!

  • theresaliveranimapes

    My daughter was stabbed over 15x never seen it coming . By her perfect abuser her husband . What in God’s name are you thinking . Abusers are criminals. Do you not jail assulters who beat people up? You are one sick man . We need to give woman free divorces from these abusers. Provide attorneys for free to get them out of Harms way . You are a sick man.

    • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

      How dare he, I’m sitting here almost in tears, so women or men in an abusive relationship have no rights, the devil is a lie

      • Melissa Rowell

        I just hope any abused wife reading this isn’t discouraged. If you are abused, leave anyway. Divorce or not, go! You can get a divorce later. This doesn’t mean you have to stay. Mississippi will keep trying to get domestic abuse added, I’m sure. But do not stay because of this stupid man.

    • Melissa Rowell

      Oh my gosh, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry. You are absolutely right. They should be helping women get away, not forcin them to stay.

    • Javafutter

      Good gracious I’m so sorry to hear this. These legislators in Mississippi should be kicked out of office for failing to protect families. They are the exact opposite of Family Values politicians.

  • So I guess the person getting abused is supposed to just sit there and take it, and say, “I’m sorry you just beat the crap of me. I’ll stay married to you and let you keep treating me like your personal punching bag.” Screw that bullcrap! I’ve been in abusive relationships (mostly mental abuse, but mental can be just as bad as physical abuse). And I know a couple that the wife has beaten her husband with thick sticks, among other abusive things. And he was strong enough of a man to take it and not hit her back! And he was not abusive to her (I know because we lived with them). My husband and I both told him that we’d have beaten the crap out of her if that was us.
    To tell someone that they aren’t allowed to leave their abusive significant other is telling the abuser that what they’re doing is a-okay! And it is anything but okay! It’s wrong! And in most cases, once an abuser, always an abuser! It’s a never-ending cycle with some people! Rep. Gipson, you’ve obviously never been around someone that’s being abused, or you wouldn’t be stupid and careless/heartless enough to kill this bill! Maybe you should spend a good bit of time at a women’s shelter where the women can tell you about their abusive spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. And you can see the pain in their eyes, the anguish on their face, and the bruises on their bodies and in their minds from the hell they were put through!! Walk a mile or two in their shoes and see if you still think that they don’t deserve a divorce after what they’ve been through!

    • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

      Joy you’re absolutely correct, so people can play with our lives, really?

  • Mr. Curmudgeon

    They are the Christian Taliban.

    • Terri Spear Mauck

      Yes, exactly

  • Liz Cleveland

    I hope his wife beats the c##p out of him,

    • Elder Maxine Smith Brown

      He may already be doing this to her, beating her and being abusive

  • Charles Pearce

    The economic interests of the Mississippi legal profession are once again protected.

  • Jody Mikkelsen

    So women/men should just shoot them instead of divorcing them??? okay, if you insist…. anyone hits me and they are going down hard!

    • Elizabeth

      Bobbit!!! Since he doesn’tseem to recognise abuse, just saying.

    • Davianna

      Make sure you do it when he’s attacking you or else you’ll go to jail while he walks free.

  • Kacy Presley

    This sounds like fundamentalist, religious nonsense. The fact that this man has this kind of power in the state legislature makes me ashamed of my home state. Regardless of how many different ways we already allow divorce, certainly none of them are as bad as physical abuse. I urge the writers at Mississippi Today to publish the list of proper grounds for divorce in an upcoming article. My guess is that there are several that the majority of the citizens of MS would be fully supportive in repealing to make room for domestic violence. This is same guy who wanted to add “firing squad” and “gas chamber” as methods of execution. He needs to be voted out of office. IMMEDIATELY!

  • Marc Brunson

    Only an idiot would think domestic violence isn’t grounds for divorce….oh wait a politician did.

  • Yet another reason to never get married. Just shack up. If you need to leave, you leave.

  • Carole Brody Fleet

    Congratulations Mr. Gipson – the blood of women who will surely suffer injury and much worse because YOU decreed that they should remain married to their abusers will surely be on your hands. How do you sleep at night? I pray for the citizens of Mississippi.

  • Dennis Willman

    Yes. Promote marriage at all costs. Even if it costs her life. That being said, I’m going to go throw up and fall into a deep depression over the fact that our species is apparently this frocking stupid.

  • Jeffrey

    I’m wondering…are these the same guys who want the government out of our lives…you know…freedom…etc…? So…there should be no government restrictions on peoples own personal reasons for wanting a divorce….any domestic abusers should be thrown into prison…just my 2 cents…

  • Otis
  • Kurn

    Even with counseling,abusers almost never change. This guy needs to be put to sleep.

  • Nikki Stepp

    “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.

    Abusers NEVER change. Chairman Gibson should be ashamed of himself, not only as legislator, and an attorney, but as a PASTOR. His whole refusal to address this bill all but re-victimizes abused spouses when they finally have the strength and the courage to leave a horrible situation before it becomes deadly. Whether it is physical, emotional, mental, sexual, or any of them combined, ABUSE is wrong, and should be grounds for DIVORCE.

  • Ron Fuller

    People need to make better voting choices!

  • Jules Gilbert

    What the unholy fock is wrong with this man?!? Seriously? “Abusers: They need to have a change of heart”, “We need to keep families together”.. Do you mean to BURY THEM TOGETHER? Because essentially, that’s exactly what the fock you’re enabling you sick pos!!! If you have any conceptual knowledge on the cycle of domestic abuse, you would know they’ve had more than their fair share of opportunities to “change”, you would know what it does to the victim mentally and emotionally, and the straight he!! They’ve more than put up with, before they dared considering leaving! Can we PLEASE get the mentally incompetent, challenged, and batsh!t crazies out of office, like this guy, that prefers to leave women as guinea pigs and punching bags headed towards body bags, based on his “personal feelings” about divorce, regardless what time and experience/outcomes have REPEATEDLY AND TRAGICALLY shown us in the horrid ending? Yet KNOWING THAT, and supposedly in the role of “serving the people”, this douche canoe here, wants to prolong and ENABLE abuse of women and children?!? GTFOH you sick fu@k! Better run now, before your skeletons make it out of your closet, exposing WHY you have the mentality you do!

  • Otis

    Representative Gibson’s knowledge of domestic abuse is mindbogglingly narrow.
    Abusers rarely change regardless of how much you pray for them or how much religious counseling they receive. Abuse is a dangerous and often deadly behavior that no woman or child should be forced to endure simply to satisfy some politician’s desire to pander to the faithful for easy points. Let’s also not overlook that Mr. Gibson is a lawyer and the longer a divorce drags on the more money he can make off the process.

    Perhaps representative Gibson should go speak with the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. http://mcadv.org/

    One instance of domestic abuse is too much.

    • Leigh Vice

      Well said…he needs to wake up and smell the coffee!

  • nonyabizzz

    what a putz

  • Karen Russo

    If men were the major recipients of domestic violence you can best believe it would be grounds for divorce asap.

  • Jana Doggett Bintz

    Why are people like this being elected?

    • And I’m Cute, Too

      Because too many people unquestioningly believe that “Christian pastor” is equivalent to “ethical, compassionate and competent”. I think it should be. Sadly, though, we’ve seen time and again that this isn’t so.

      And I say this as a Christian.

  • Lynda Naatz Richter

    Who in the world would advocate that people who don’t want to be married MUST stay married? I agree that too many people jump ship at the first difficulty, but they are likely to immature to make a marriage work, anyway. Proving that DV is “Inhumane Treatment” might be quite difficult for a spouse who is already battered and has had their self confidence destroyed. DV is a crime against a person. It suffices for divorce.

    • Javafutter

      Freedom for Republicans is only important when a large corporation wants to rip off its customers or a gun shop wants to sell a weapon of war to a mentally challenged individual.

  • ErynnSilver

    Oh my fucking gods just let people divorce already, it’s not your buisness, and forcing people to stay together is not ok. Being explicit about domestic violence would have been a good thing you jackass.

  • Marta Weller

    Just another reason to celebrate the fact that I don’t live in Mississippi. The abuser needs to have a change of heart, huh? And should that person decides his/her behavior is the norm and doesn’t need changing? And the abuse continues until one or the other is dead. Problem solved, no need for divorce. Daddy diddling the children and Mama can’t get a divorce without corroborative proof? A toddler can’t exactly testify, so a child has to endure this until they are old enough to understand this is abuse? Exactly how humane is that?

  • Dana Carpender

    Well, then, I guess victims of domestic violence will have no choice but to kill their abusers. I recommend a golf club or baseball bat to the head while he’s asleep.

  • BookCoverJudge

    Well then, I guess that “Stand Your Ground” law in Mississippi will have to be used in lieu of divorce on grounds of domestic abuse. I bet he’d hit reverse pretty quickly if he had an epidemic of women shooting down their abusive husbands everywhere.

  • BookCoverJudge

    Well then, I guess that “Stand Your Ground” law in Mississippi will have to be used in lieu of divorce on grounds of domestic abuse. I bet he’d hit reverse pretty quick if he had an epidemic of women shooting their abusive husbands down everywhere.

  • Alisha Rose Glenn

    Christian Sharia law in action.

    • And I’m Cute, Too

      Yep. That’s basically what Christian Reconstructionism is. And this might very well be one example of it.

  • Phoebe Kate

    … this is why women die. This is how women die at the hands of men who beat them. An attempt to escape, and the law sending them home for that one final beating that ends with ‘what could have been done to prevent this tragedy’.

  • And I’m Cute, Too

    I did a little digging on Andy Gipson, and I’d like to share what I’ve found.

    According to the MS Legislature page, Gipson is a pastor at Gum Springs Baptist Church in Braxton. Unfortunately, I’m finding it difficult to learn much about this congregation. It has no homepage that I can see, and even its Facebook page contains the bare minimum of info — a street address and map, but no stories or reviews, and no statement of faith. Because of this, it’s hard to be certain about its distinctive beliefs, or its associations in American Christendom.

    However, I did learn from the above source that he’s “affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention”. And I’ve read an awful lot about this denomination in recent years. Based on the research of various bloggers and the stories of former and current members, the SBC has been infiltrated and largely co-opted by an especially heartless and domineering strain of New Calvinism. One of the features of this ideology is usually called “gender complementarianism”, the notion that the Bible prescribes strict and immutable roles for all men and women within marriage and in church settings. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) are frequent pushers of this doctrine, and these groups include a lot of big celebrity names in American evangelicalism.

    Regarding marriage: The CBMW insists that Christian men are supposed to lovingly lead and care for their wives, whereas women must submit to and obey their husbands. While this sounds OK to some in theory, in actual practice, this imposition of roles leads to all kinds of problems when conflict arises between spouses. Even worse, abusive husbands have often used this idea of “wifely submission” to blame their wives for “provoking” them, and claimed that they have the right to impose “discipline” for “unsubmissive” behaviour. When abused women seek relief or counsel from the church, all too often their pastors (all men, of course) either side with the husbands, or insist that they simply endure the abuse by praying more, or to mollify their husbands by being “more submissive”.

    Furthermore, many gender comp gurus believe that domestic abuse is not a valid reason for divorce, since this is not explicitly spelled out in the Bible. Even if they permit separation to protect women from violent spouses, they will still refuse to allow divorce in these circumstances. In fact, in recent years some church have imposed “church discipline” on wives who have taken the step of ending their marriages to abusive and untrustworthy men. Among these cases are Dr. Ruth Tucker (who has written a book on her experiences), Karen Hinkley (The Village Church), Marie Notcheva (Heritage Bible Church), and Hurit Estes (Community Evangelical Free Church). Based on this, I’ve seen some observers remark that the CBMW and their ilk have made an idol out of marriage, and I find it hard to disagree.

    Again, without more info on Gum Springs Baptist in particular, it’s hard to state with certainty that gender comp teachings played any part in Gipson’s decision. But given his words and attitudes, and their eerie similarity to CBMW’s talking points, I find it very hard to think otherwise.

    My apologies to all for the information overload. I hope that at least some of this is helpful. If anyone is interested in my sources, I can try to post links later.

  • Melinda Luvs You

    Any married woman who owns a cast iron skillet in Mississippi have husbands who will be sleeping with one eye open tonight 😉

  • Kebori Denson

    In other typical Mississippi news ????

  • Brandy Wagoner

    I bet if it were his child that was in an abusive marraige he would have a different stance on this subject.

  • George Smith

    An article I wrote today. I doubt many mainstream media types will publish it. We’ll see:

    DOMESTIC ABUSE ALREADY A GROUND FOR DIVORCE

    Rep. Andy Gipson

    As Chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, there is a reason for decisions I make in considering, or not considering legislation. On February 28, 2017 I clearly announced the reasons in not taking up Senate Bill 2703. The divorce policy of the State of Mississippi has been in place for a very, very long time. Senate Bill 2703 was unnecessary because Mississippi law has long recognized domestic abuse as a legitimate ground for divorce. One of the very basic grounds of divorce in Mississippi is, and has been, “habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.” This standard, already written in the law, has been interpreted for years by the Mississippi Supreme Court to include a “continuous course of conduct on the part of the offending spouse which was so unkind, unfeeling or brutal as to endanger, or put one in reasonable apprehension of danger to life, limb or health . . .” Holladay v. Holladay, 776 So. 2d 662, 676 (Miss. 2000) (citing Robison v. Robison, 722 So. 2d 601, 603 (Miss. 1998)).

    The Mississippi Supreme Court has also found that this basis for divorce applies to both physical and non-physical abuse. In fact, under current law it is not even necessary to produce evidence of physical abuse. See Bodne v. King, 835 So. 2d 52, 58 (Miss. 2003). In that case, the Court outlined some of the principles of abuse on which a divorce can be granted:

    “Physical violence directed at the offended spouse is not required. Richard, 711 So.2d at 889 (slovenly behavior coupled with accusations of incest held sufficient). Mere unkindness, rudeness, petty indignities, frivolous quarrels, incompatibility or lack of affection are not sufficient. Steen v. Steen, 641 So.2d 1167, 1170 (Miss.1994); McKee v. Flynt, 630 So.2d 44, 48 (Miss.1993). One set of conduct evincing habitual cruel and unusual conduct is ill-founded accusations, threats and malicious sarcasm, insults and verbal abuse which cause such mental suffering as to destroy health and endanger the life of an innocent spouse. Chamblee v. Chamblee, 637 So.2d 850, 859 (Miss.1994).”

    Although generally cruel and inhuman treatment must be shown to have occurred over a period of time, long ago in 1971 the Mississippi Supreme Court established that: “. . . one incident of personal violence may be of such a violent nature as to endanger the life of the complainant spouse and be of sufficient gravity to establish the charge of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment.” Ellzey v. Ellzey, 253 So.2d 249 (1971).

    As I said in the February 28th committee meeting, the law already provides a clear way out of a marriage for victims of domestic abuse, without the need for another bill. To deny this reality is to ignore the current state of Mississippi law.

    Divorce is a tragic event in the life of any couple. Sometimes it is necessary and/or unavoidable, and especially so in cases of domestic abuse. Victims of cruel and inhuman treatment should get out. But Mississippi doesn’t need another bill to say what the law already says.

  • John Smith

    He surely doesn’t look like someone who would beat his wife, but there we have it.

  • Caroline Starr

    So he can keep beating his wife?

  • Goldie Rocks

    This man, Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, sounds like he is mentally challenged. Is this like the bible belt male Christian belief system which says, God wants you to stay with your husband even when he is beating you? Mississippi needs to come into the 21st century and vote this clown out of office, ASAP..

  • jernewm

    How stupid and primitive can a male legislator be? These self righteous southern republicans need to open their eyes and a marriage with violence is not a marriage. Since women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, both physical and verbal, and since domestic violence has a disastrous impact of the children in the family, and since interventions programs have very limited success rates this so called legislator and misguided minister needs to focus on the community supporting those who face this painful experience of DV.
    This legislator needs to talk with those who lived in abusive relationships and see if God exists in those relations.

  • Kathy Carr

    GOP IS paralogize: to draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.

  • Melissa Rowell

    No they don’t need to be promoting marriage, they need to mind their own damn business. This man is a complete idiot. No one should be forced to stay in an abusive marriage. The government has no stake in whether anyone stay married or not. That’s a bullshit religious beliefs and that’s unconstitutional. I’m so sick of self-righteous republican holy rollers. They are the most intrusive busy-bodies. For God’s sake, get a life!!

  • Keeping violent people legally tied to nonviolent people is not right. What are you thinking?

  • Daniel Jensen

    Oh sure, the abuser should have counseling. May I recommend the program “jail time”?

    Seriously, fuck right off with your “the abuser needs a change of heart” bullshit. It isn’t the victim in domestic violence who’s ruining the sanctimony of marriage, it’s the asshole who thinks beating their partner up is acceptable.

  • Patty MacDonell

    Why is it important for external forces to make it hard for any individual to leave a relationship that makes them unhappy? Isn’t this the nanny state that conservatives keep garbling about? Where are the libertarians?

  • disqus_7AYbHGAiPb

    As soon as marriage left the church and became legislated there should have been a way to reverse it. There is nothing that at least could be heard by a judge and potentially rescinded. There is a reason it had been established from day 1 of the country that a Separation Between Church and State exist.

  • Barbei Williams

    So if you can’t divorce the bastard on grounds of domestic violence……. what about offing them? Does domestic violence cover manslaughter? I guess Earls Gotta Die…..

  • Jeannette Jarrar

    Since 2003 18,000 women in the USA have been killed by an intimate partner. This does not include the male and children victims of domestic violence.

  • Beabe Campbell

    I am a survivor of this! Born and grew up here I had two children for monster/aka husband! Welcome to Ms where men are men and women and Children are treated like Chattel! We are the poster child for why NO GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE Repubicans! We are almost dead last in everything!! I tried for 22 years to get help for my abuse! I had hospital records bruises and lacerations, I would show up at the justice courts and they were his (husbands) buddies and they would throw my papers I filed in the fire and laugh at me! This happened till I finally was free because he met and fell in love with a crack head in NA! When I caught them cheating on me while I was at work, he almost killed me for daring to catch him! This time it was a different county! The judge after he was finally out of lies and found to be a liar smacked his hand and said: probation for you son now don’t touch her again for a whole year now ya hear me?” This was how I found my freedom! But he also later beat up my child while still on probation in the same old county and yes the paper work disappeared! Along with charges! Ms is disgusting and our leaders are scum!

  • Tina

    Of course not because they are domestic abusers and just admitted to it! Duh!

  • Terri Spear Mauck

    This is why Religion has no place in government. You must put your religious beliefs aside to make better decisions for the people, other wise we will go back to stoning to death those that defy the teachings of the bible. This is unacceptable and has no place in today’s society. I have no problem with your belief in God, I do however have issues with you forcing it upon those who do not believe the same way as you do.

  • raytheist

    “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.

    OMG… Does Gipson not understand that abusers RARELY have a change of heart that sticks. They may feel temporary remorse, but the behavior will crop up again and again. Yes, they DO need to make some changes, but victims must not be forced to stay with an abuser. Ever.

  • Gwynne875

    Sounds more like this Legislator does not so much want to encourage couples staying together as allowing abusers enough time to maim and murder their spouse and children. Ah….. ‘Merika.

  • Gwynne875

    I fear for this Legislator’s wife, if he still has one. He has a controller abuser mindset and should NOT be writing legislation.

  • susansrwc

    Mr. Gipson, if you were being beaten by your wife, I guarantee you would want it to stop. And if it did not stop, and you are a sane human being, you would want to get to a place of safety. It is a mental illness to enjoy being beaten, or to think that your beatings are your fault and you have to endure them. Get out of the dark ages. A marriage where one spouse is beating the other is no longer a viable marriage. Sticking in it is mental illness.

  • Javafutter

    A divorce should be solely the choice of the couple getting divorced or even one person who wants to leave. Republicans always talk about big government but they love having big government meddle in households and bedrooms.

    If they wanted to strengthen families they should adopt the Medicaid Expansion so low income families can take care of their kids, increase the middle wage for the same reason and make it easier for families to provide a great education for their kids.

    The rejection of this bill is simply a matter of men wanting continued domination over women in the most backward state in the Union.

    I got divorced when my wife and I realized it just wasn’t working after ten years. Since then I met my second wife and we have a lovely, happy marriage that will go on and on. If you believe in Freedom then act on it. If not say so.

  • rosarosa

    Isn’t beating someone against the law?

  • Tameka D. Hayes

    Please remember your stance on this issue Mr. Gipson when yourself or a family member/CLOSE friend is killed as a result of domestic violence. You are essentially telling victims that you don’t care about them.

  • M Diaz

    Putting the ideology of marriage before human rights is sociopathic.

  • Andrea Kurlansik Lyn

    Maybe he is one of them and loves his control—abuse is all about power and control and if you do not have police reports or witness, which most do not, then forget being believed!!!

  • ziggypop

    Sounds like he abuses his wife and kids is only selfishly protecting himself.

    Bet this fraud of a Christian went to church yesterday.

  • marytg

    I hope his wife beats him every night

  • Wendy Everin

    I am SO THANKFUL I don’t live in Mississippi. His lack of action is gravely negligent, and his statements indicate he is dangerously ignorant about DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

  • Sea Scholars

    He probably beats his wife and that is probably the True reason behind his illogical “story- lie” that he thinks abusers should just change, like magic.