In an age where every type of marriage between two voluntary parties is under intense scrutiny, Texas may have the answer – compulsory weddings.
That’s the strategy of Judge Randall Rogers, who on Friday ordered Josten Bundy to marry his 19-year-old girlfriend Elizabeth Jaynes or “do the time”, according to the New York Daily News.
Bundy, charged with assault for a fistfight with Jaynes’ ex-boyfriend, faced prison time if he did not comply with the district judge. The terms of Bundy’s probation were very unusual: he was required by the court to write out verses from the Bible, attend counseling sessions – and marry Ms. Jaynes within thirty days. Jaynes, who was herself present at Bundy’s trial, was just as surprised to hear the sentence as Bundy.
Bundy, however, faced a slew of negative repercussions for a stint in jail. Fearing he may lose his job with a felony conviction on his permanent record, he agreed to the marriage, and the two were wed eighteen days later.
Numerous legal officials have weighed in since the strange Texas trial, with the unilateral conclusion that compelling two citizens to marry is illegal. If the couple choose to appeal the judge’s decision and have the wedding annulled, circuit courts in Texas will finally have to dispel the long-standing stereotype of the shotgun wedding – is marriage necessarily between two “consenting” parties?