GAY DIVORCE….A few days ago I was joking to a friend that now that gay marriage was becoming more widely accepted, the next frontier was gay divorce. Turns out that’s no joke if you get married in one state but live in another. Today the LA Times tells the story of Cassandra Ormiston and her longtime partner Margaret Chambers, who were married in Massachusetts in 2004:
After two years of marriage, the 10-year relationship soured, and Chambers filed for divorce. That put the couple into a legal limbo that is becoming increasingly common as same-sex couples married in one state try to divorce in another.
A judge in Family Court, where divorces are handled, asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court for a ruling on whether his court had jurisdiction, given that Rhode Island doesn’t recognize gay marriage. The state Supreme Court decided that the women weren’t legally married in the eyes of the state and therefore couldn’t get divorced.
Chambers then tried filing for divorce in the state’s Superior Court, but last month a judge there ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over marriage dissolutions. A Massachusetts divorce isn’t an option because only residents who have lived in the state for a year can file there.
“They’ve given us no choice but to be married forever,” said Ormiston. “Their worst nightmare.”
And it gets worse. Even if you get divorced in the same state you were married in, it turns out that federal law jumps up to bite you too. Read the rest to get the whole story.