Sharma v. Sharma
8 Kan.App.2d 726, 667 P.2d 395 (1983)
The Sharmas were married in
India and moved to Kansas. They broke up and Mr. Sharma filed for
Ms. Sharma contested the
divorce. She argued that under the Hindu religion, divorce is not
allowed. Therefore the divorce violated her 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion.
The Appellate Court affirmed
the divorce decree.
The Appellate Court found
that, although the freedom of belief is absolute, the law may regulate
conduct prompted by religious beliefs when the individual's right of free
exercise of religion is outweighed by a compelling State interest.
The Court noted that since
Mr. Sharma didn't share the same beliefs, it would be unfair to him to be
forced to stay married because of the religious beliefs of another.
The Court noted that Mrs.
Sharma was free to believe that 'in the eyes of God' they were still
married, or that he husband was going to hell, or whatever. The Court
was only dissolving the civil and legal parts of the marriage. The ecclesiastical parts were not their concern.
Basically, the courts can
enforce secular laws and persons are free to believe things according to
their religious beliefs under the 1st Amendment.