Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The American Same-Sex Divorce Conundrum

The Washington Post has a lengthy article today on the odd problem married same-sex couples in American are encountering.

If they have moved outside Massachusetts, the sole state that allows same sex marriage, they may not be able to divorce.

Last month, we reported on this conundrum, after a 3-2 decision of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which held that it lacked jurisdiction to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple that married in Massachusetts, but had moved to that State. In short, the court declined jurisdiction because Rhode Island does not recognize same sex marriages.

Massachusetts has a minimum residency requirement in its divorce procedures. If at least one spouse does not live in the State, a couple cannot divorce there.

In related news, with the arrival of 2008, New Hampshire now recognizes same-sex unions:

The law, which took effect with the arrival of 2008, "recognizes the civil union between one man and another man or one woman and another woman."

It grants rights to couples previously denied them because they cannot marry, including inheritance and child custody. The unions are not called marriages, however, and the law specifically allows clergy to refuse to perform them.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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