Some states struggle with same-sex divorce issues

Many states across the U.S. are struggling with the legalities of same-sex marriage and divorce being allowed in some states, but not recognized in others. It appears that some courts are refusing to approve same-sex divorce if same-sex marriage is not allowed in their jurisdiction, while other courts approve same-sex divorce so long as the marriage was valid in another state. And apparently, still other courts seem to be inconsistent in how they are approving same-sex divorces. Maryland same-sex couples who are contemplating divorce may find it useful to review how other states seem to be tackling this complex issue.

One state saw inconsistency being applied toward two same-sex divorce cases just days apart. A court approved the divorce of a gay couple who had been wed in another state. Days later, another judge of that same court refused to grant the divorce of a lesbian couple who had married in another country. The judge in that particular case claimed he had no jurisdiction to grant a divorce because same-sex marriages were not valid in the state, regardless of their validity in another country.

Of course, that may seem perplexing to many, given that the same Ohio court has granted same-sex divorces in several other cases. Supporters for this issue claim that the court does have jurisdiction to grant divorces in these situations since the statute and amendment regarding same-sex marriage do not say anything about same-sex divorce. They point out that granting a divorce does not necessarily invalidate the amendment in question.

This certainly seems to be an increasing conundrum across the country. Maryland same-sex couples who have tried to get their own divorces in the past know that this can be a difficult proposition. However, with a bill approving same-sex marriage in the works in our own state, hopefully same-sex divorce here will become easier for couples to obtain.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Judge refuses lesbians a divorce," Alan Johnson, Aug. 24, 2012