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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Texas divorce case draws attorney general’s attention

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has intervened in a first-of-its-kind Travis County divorce case, arguing that the women involved, who were married in another state, may not be legally granted a divorce because Texas law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Divorce, Not Freedom to Marry, Is the Real Issue for Rescuing Families

The Huffington Post
January 26, 2010

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes that denial of marriage equality "has absolutely nothing to do with rescuing the institution of marriage" and that the real issue is divorce: "[M]ore than 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And this was happening years before gays came out in significant numbers, let alone demanded the right to marry." [Link]

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N.J. same-sex couples looking for a civil union ‘dissolution’ find it’s harder than ‘divorce’

Star Ledger (NJ)
December 31, 2009
Despite the fact that civil union dissolution proceedings are supposed to be the same as divorce under New Jersey law, gay and lesbian couples face a great deal of confusion and uncertainty when dissolving a civil union. The way it plays out in real life makes civil unions unequal both in establishing legally committed relationships and ending them. [Link]

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Seven Tips for Dissolving Gay Unions

Bucks (The New York Times)
November 18, 2009
Following up on a previous blog in which she discussed the challenges gay and lesbian couples face when getting divorced, Tara Siegel Bernard writes about different options for couples who wish to end their unions. [Link]

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For Same-Sex Couples, ‘Traditional’ Divorce Isn’t Always an Option

Bucks (The New York Times)
November 17, 2009
Tara Siegel Bernard discusses the difficulty many gay and lesbian couples face - both legally and financially - when they decide that they must divorce, because of the differences in law in many states. [Link]

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U.S. same-sex couples who marry in Canada face challenges in divorcing

The Lawyers Weekly
November 13, 2009 Issue
Many same-sex couples from the U.S. travel to Canada to get married, but what happens when the honeymoon’s over and forever is just too long? Couples who live in states that do not recognize the freedom to marry are also living in states that do not recognize the freedom to divorce. [Link]

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Texas doing the divorce fandango

The Janesville Gazette
October 8, 2009

I suppose there is something charming about watching conservative politicians in Texas trying so ardently to preserve a gay couple's marriage.

How else can you explain their passionate opposition to a court ruling last week that would allow a couple legally wed in Massachusetts to be divorced in their state? (Link)

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Divorce for Gay Couples Still Legal in California

New York Times
May 27, 2009
Gay and lesbian couples who took advantage of California’s brief fling with gay marriage last year to tie the knot, but now can’t stand the sight of one another, will be relieved to hear that gay divorce remains an option. Also, because most gay couples who’ve married thus far had already been together for many years, the divorce rate for gay couples is still low, says Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry. “I expect that, over time, gay people will probably have the same rate of [marriage] failure as non-gay people,” says Wolfson. “And that’s part of the point. People should be treated equally.” [link]

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