Partnership bill breaks substantial new ground

Ireland's Civil Partnership Bill will give lesbian and gay couples access to a range of protections in fields such as property, social welfare, pensions, power of attorney, pensions, and taxes.

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Gay couples caught in financial limbo

Nicole C. Brambila writes about lesbian and gay couples who face financial trouble in part because their relationships are not legally recognized.

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Op-Ed: Why the freedom to marry is good for straight people

Diana Landen explains why she feels legalizing the freedom to marry in America would be "better for all of us."

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Serious legal hurdles for divorce of same-sex couples

It's only been two months since the District of Columbia legalized the freedom to marry, but local attorney Lawrence Jacobs is already cautioning his clients: Marriage may be allowed, but divorce will be much harder to do.

While the District and five states have legalized marriage equality and consequently allow divorces, granting divorces to same-sex couples elsewhere is often murky. As married same-sex couples cross into states that explicitly ban or don't recognize the freedom to marry, they face a dilemma.

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New York court expands rights of same-sex parents

New York State’s highest court ruled in two cases Tuesday that nonbiological parents involved in same-sex relationships have rights similar to those of biological parents.

But the court limited its rulings, ultimately leaving it up to the state Legislature to decide whether to amend state law to grant nonbiological parents full custody rights.

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Can gay couples divorce where their marriages are not honored?

D-I-V-O-R-C-E can be pure "H-E-double L," as Tammy Wynette sang, but what if the government decides to get in the act and puts you in a legal and relationship limbo that promises to last for months, perhaps years.

That is what is facing two Texas couples — a pair of men and a pair of women — who fell in love and married in Massachusetts and then fell out of love in Texas.

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Texas court hears state’s appeal in divorce of same-sex couple

A lawyer for a Dallas man trying to divorce the man he married in Massachusetts told a Texas appeals court Wednesday that his client is entitled to a divorce because he had a valid marriage.

But the Texas Attorney General's Office argued before the three-judge 5th Texas Court of Appeals panel that the marriage isn't recognized by Texas, so they cannot get a divorce. Jimmy Blacklock, an assistant Texas solicitor general, said the men's union can only be voided. "The parties lack standing to file a divorce case because they're not married," he said.

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Divorce dilemma: Texas says same-sex couples can’t get divorce

Gay and lesbian couples who turn to the courts when they break up are getting mixed results across the nation. A Pennsylvania judge last month refused to divorce two women who married in Massachusetts, while New York grants such divorces even though the state doesn't honor the freedom to marry.

"The bottom line is that same-sex couples have families and their families have the same needs and problems, but often don't have the same rights," said Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer for Lambda Legal, a national legal organization that promotes equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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The right to love—and loss

Currently, even in states where the freedom to marry is legal, divorce for gay couples is a legal nightmare.

"One of the reasons gay people, like others, need the freedom to marry is divorce," says Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson. "It's a system of guidelines and rules and structure to help people through a painful passage."

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Divorce in Texas?

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the 2010 Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Texas, writes that two women should be able to divorce in Texas because the state’s family code says the “law of this State applies to persons married elsewhere who are domiciled in this state.”

"The Texas AG, if he agrees that gay people are 'persons', must read Texas divorce law which applies to 'persons,' not 'marriages.' Then, our Texas laws governing custody, support and community property, for example, would apply."

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