Divorce Hub

Kentucky Judge Grants State's First Same Sex Divorce

Screenshot 2015-01-13 17.44.36Though Kentucky has yet to legalize same-sex marriage, or even deign to recognize gay unions performed out-of-state, a Jefferson County Family Court judge struck a blow for marriage equality by granting the first legal same-sex divorce in the state. Judge Joseph O'Reilly divorced Alysha Romero and Rebecca Sue Romero, a lesbian couple who were first married in Massachusetts in 2009, citing Kentucky law that requires judges to “liberally” construe the legal proceedings surrounding divorce so as to encourage “amicable settlements” between people looking to split.

"The Constitution of Kentucky prohibits the exercise of absolute and arbitrary power over [its peoples’] lives,” O'Reilly said. "Even if that exercise is approved of by the largest majority."

Aysha Romero’s lawyer, Louis Waterman, argued that despite Kentucky’s refusal to acknowledge out-of-state gay marriages, a decision to not grant the Romeros a divorce would be tantamount to the state recognizing them as being married.

O’Reilly first made his ruling in late December of last year, but held off making it public until the new year, after his retirement. O’Reilly is not seeking re-election, and because the window for appeals has since passed his ruling has become precedent in Jefferson county, though it can’t be used in other Kentucky cases.

"I am just thrilled with Judge O'Reilly's courage,” said Waterman. “I think he had a lot of chutzpah to do what he did."


Say No to Gay Divorce: VIDEO


A new political action committee has a message for married gay people thinking about ruining the sanctity of 'traditional' divorce: stay out of it.


Continue reading "Say No to Gay Divorce: VIDEO" »

DOMA and Why Certain States Must Recognize Your Divorce But Not Your Same-Sex Marriage


The "What's Next" series takes an in depth look at marriage and gay rights, in general, after the Supreme Court's momentous rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8. Today's column looks at the legal implications of marriage and divorce.

Divorce-imageMarriage freedom came to Minnesota and Rhode Island last week. So too did the freedom to divorce in Colorado. Years ago, Colorado chose to enshrine marriage discrimination in its constitution and yet, its civil unions law includes provisions for the equitable division of marital property upon divorce.

This gives us the perfect opportunity to understand the legal difference between getting married and getting divorced in the context of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Windsor v. United States.

Windsor struck down only one part of DOMA: Section 3 had stated that the federal government would only recognize those marriages between one man and one woman. The case did not touch, so the Court had no reason to address, Section 2 of DOMA, which holds that states need not recognize the marriages performed in other states if those marriages conflicted with the state's public policy. Notably, this wasn't anything new. DOMA Section 2 is merely a restatement of current law; the fact that the 1996 Congress felt the need to restate it just for the sake of restating it when it came to gay marriages is a testament to the anti-gay animus that motivated that debate.

So here's the question: If DOMA Section 2 permits states to ignore out-of-state marriages between same-sex partners, how can a state recognize you as divorced if it never recognize you were married in the first place?

The short answer: Divorces are court orders, which have to be recognized across state boundaries. Marriages are not. That means that the Constitution's full faith and credit clause applies to divoces, not to marriages. So, the Constitution gives us a national right to divorce, but not a national right to marry. 

I explain AFTER THE JUMP...

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Kermit The Frog Sings A Marriage Equality Parody Of The Muppets' 'Rainbow Connection' - VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 4.04.56 PM

A funny parody video about marriage equality, divorce, North Korea, and the Pope, all sung to the tune of the classic Muppets song "Rainbow Connection."

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kermit The Frog Sings A Marriage Equality Parody Of The Muppets' 'Rainbow Connection' - VIDEO" »

Same-Sex Divorce Coming to Canada for Foreign Couples

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against DOMA and Prop8, paving the way for greater access to marriage for millions of gay Americans, Canada's parliament closer to granting divorces for those same people.

CanadaLast week Towleroad linked to a Maclean's article that stated the legislation could be indefinitely stalled, leaving many divorce-seeking non-Canadian same-sex couples who married in Canada stuck with their nuptials, no matter how badly they might want a divorce.

Reports the CBC:

Instead of following the normal process for a bill where it is debated and voted on at various stages and studied by MPs on a committee, C-32 [the divorce bill] was declared passed at all stages in the Commons and it moved on to the Senate where it was also dealt with quickly. It landed in the Senate Wednesday and was passed Friday.

The original issue erupted when an odd loophole was exposed by a foreign same-sex couple who's home jurisdictions didn't recognize their marriage, and thus they sought divorce where they were originally married. But, Canada had a requirement that to obtain a divorce, one had to live in Canada for an entire year. The loophole wasn't acknowledged until now most likely because such hetero couples would never have had to return to Canada to get a divorce—their home countries simply would have granted it.

So, all in all, it's a pretty good day for same-sex couples in the U.S. that want to get married, and for same-sex couples who want to get out of theirs.

Jane Lynch Divorcing

Jane Lynch is divorcing her wife Lara Embry, People magazine reports:

Lynch_embry"Lara and I have decided to end our marriage. This has been a difficult decision for us as we care very deeply about one another. We ask for privacy as we deal with this family matter," Lynch says in a statement.

Lynch, 52, and Embry, 44, met at a 2009 fundraiser in San Francisco at which Embry was being honored. Shortly after confirming their engagement, the women married on Memorial Day in 2010 in an intimate ceremony in Sunderland, Mass., one of the few states where gay marriage is recognized.


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