It’s being called “the unusual proposal,” and unusual — to say the least — it is.
Twenty-year-old Josten Bundy told KLTV that he and his 19-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes, had talked about marriage just six months into their relationship because they were “strung over each other and… in love.”
But they didn’t expect a criminal court judge to order them to wed.
That is exactly what happened, though, when Bundy landed in court with assault charges after an altercation with Jaynes’ ex-boyfriend.
“[The ex-boyfriend] had been saying disrespectful things about Elizabeth, so I challenged him to a fight,” said Bundy. “He stepped in and I felt like it was on and I hit him in the jaw twice.”
At his sentencing hearing, Smith County, Texas judge Randall Rogers asked Bundy whether Jaynes was worth the trouble this fight has caused. Bundy said she was, and that he would do the same to any man that was speaking poorly about a woman.
Then, after learning that Bundy and Jaynes were unwed, Rogers indicated that, as part of Bundy’s probation, the two would have to marry within 30 days.
Should he decline the probation? He would have to spend fifteen days in jail, most likely costing him job.
So, in front of the entire court room Bundy did what he felt he had to do. He got down on one knee and proposed to Jaynes.
“My face was so red, people behind me were laughing,” Jaynes told KLTV. “[The judge] made me stand up in court.”
They then applied for a marriage license and — in a ceremony that was nothing like the one they had imagined — were married by a justice of the peace just eighteen days later.
“My father didn’t get to go, and that really bothers me, I know he would have liked to be there,” said Bundy. “None of my sisters got to show up, it was such short notice, I couldn’t get it together.”
Judge Rogers’ sentencing begs the obvious question— were his probation terms legal? Constitutional law attorney, Blake Bailey, says no way.
“To say you’re not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field,” said Bailey. “It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing, what he thinks is best for some people in his court.”
Despite the strange circumstances surrounding the proposal and marriage, the couple is in love and they plan to have a larger ceremony in the future.