With Gay Marriage comes... Gay Divorce
...Then Comes Divorce
While the states are still arguing whether or not to even allow gay couples to get married, the first wave of same sex couples looking to divorce are making their way to the courts. But with no federal ruling, the divorce proceedings for some couples have made national headlines that would normally not even be mentioned in newspapers.
When Julie and Hillary Goodridge, lead plaintiffs in Massachusett’s landmark gay marriage case, announced they were seeking a divorce in February, 2009, the media treated the news as if they were Hollywood celebrities on the skids.
In Texas, a case involving a couple looking to get divorced made headlines late last year when Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the divorce proceedings could continue in the state that doesn’t even recognize the marriage.
The case brings to light another issue that hasn’t been discussed quite as much. If a couple gets married and then moves to a state that has either banned or not yet ruled same sex marriage, the law doesn’t quite know how to handle those relationships.
"It’s cause and effect. One can’t be divorced if not married," explained Clement. "The truth of the matter is there will be gay divorce. Every relationship ends - either through death, hopefully at a ripe old age, or break up."
There are currently three types of states. First, states like Massachusetts where marriage is legal and therefore the right to get divorced is treated the same way as heterosexual marriages. Second, states like New York where same sex marriage is not legal, but they recognize the marriages from other states. In this case divorces are also treated the same as have always been. Third are states like California and Texas were same sex marriages are not legal or recognized. It’s in the last set of states that things are trickiest.