Friday, December 07, 2007

No Gay Divorce in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has decided by a 3-2 margin that it lacks jurisdiction to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple that married in Massachusetts:

Justice Robinson for the Court:

The Family Court, a legislatively created court of limited jurisdiction, acting pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 9-24-27, has certified the following question to this Court:

“May the Family Court properly recognize, for the purpose of entertaining a divorce petition, the marriage of two persons of the same sex who were purportedly married in another state?”

For the reasons set forth herein, it is our opinion that the certified question must be answered in the negative.

See: Margaret R. Chambers v. Cassandra B. Ormiston, No. 06-340 (December 7, 2007)

Wonkette's Megan Carpentier offers this further insight into the implications of the decison - the couple may now be married for life:

The great state of Rhode Island hasn’t yet seen fit to pass a law recognizing — or affirmatively not recognizing — same sex marriage and so their Supreme Court today ruled that, in the absence of recognition of the marriage, the state can’t possibly grant the couple a divorce. Notably, every state requires that at least one spouse live in the state where they are filing for divorce, so it’s not like the pair can just head back over to Massachusetts to get a divorce.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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