If a same-sex couple living in Texas wants to marry, while they cannot marry in their own state, they can always go to one of several other states that do recognize these unions. However, if the same couple decides to end their marriage, they may discover getting a divorce is an uphill battle. Part of the problem is that, even if same-sex couples legally marry, states may refuse to recognize these unions.
A pair of women living in Mississippi are discovering just how problematic this can be. In 2008, the women went to California to be married, but their relationship has ended since then. They are attempting to get a divorce, but the state of Mississippi refuses to grant one for a marriage it does not recognize. An amendment to the state’s constitution passed by a large majority in 2004 that not only stated same-sex marriage was not permitted in the state, but that marriages from other states would not have legal standing.
In court, it was argued that the women should get equal protection under the law and be granted the divorce. However, the judge in the case, while appearing to be sympathetic to the women, stated that he could not grant them the divorce due to the way the law is written. What makes the problem even more complicated is that it is commonly a requirement that people establish residency in a particular state before filing for divorce in that jurisdiction.
Same-sex couples face other legal obstacles that other couples do not run into. Adopting children and dealing with custody issues also present special challenges, but a family law attorney may be able to help individuals understand applicable state law and the evolution of rights for same-sex couples.
Source: Huffington Post, “More And More Gay People Can Get Married … But Can They Divorce?“, Lila Shapiro, December 05, 2013