How a marriage can be broken by a wife’s choice
In an unprecedented case, a Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that a woman who claimed that her husband broke their marriage because of an unspoken religious vow to marry her could not divorce him.
In a unanimous decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Minneapolis ruled that the wife’s religious vow did not qualify her husband from being held responsible for breaking their marriage.
The case was brought by Mariah S. Ritz, an attorney who represented Ritz in a 2007 court case.
Ritz claimed that after they divorced, the marriage broke down because of a religious vow.
Her husband had said that he would not marry her again because of that vow, the court said.
The ruling could set the stage for a growing number of couples to be forced to confront the issue of religious vows in marriage.
In the past year, two couples in New Jersey have sued their husbands after he refused to marry them on the basis of a vow to do so.
And in Florida, a woman sued her husband for breaking his vows to marry his first wife, who died before they married.
In Minnesota, the case was about whether Ritz was entitled to a divorce based on her husband’s religious vows.
The court ruled that while Ritz may not be the only person who can break a marriage, her husband did violate the law when he did not marry the woman, according to the Associated Press.
Ritholtz, a native of Iowa, had married her first husband, a doctor, in 1999, after she divorced her first boyfriend, the AP reported.
Ritholtts attorney, Matthew D. Haug, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.