Thursday, October 25, 2007

Having married in Massachusetts, may a lesbian couple now get divorced in Rhode Island?

The Rhode Island Supreme Court is about to decide whether its courts can approve the divorce of a lesbian couple who were joined in marriage in Massachusetts three years ago. This case appears to be the first case in which a state outside Massachusetts has had to deal with the issue of whether it can grant a divorce to a couple previously married in a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, even though it does not itself recognize same-sex (gay and lesbian) marriages. Oral arguments have been made and a decision from the court is expected within a few weeks. Stay tuned.

LINK to Article in The Providence Journal: Woman in historic same-sex divorce case did not seek the spotlight "Cassandra Ormiston sees her court battle to end her marriage as a human-rights — not a gay-rights — issue. 'I have the same right to fail as anyone else.'"October 22, 2007, By Edward Fitzpatrick, Journal Staff Writer

"....Chambers and Ormiston married in Fall River in May 2004, shortly after Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Chambers filed for divorce last year in Rhode Island Family Court, and Ormiston filed a counterclaim, with both citing 'irreconcilable differences.'

The case is receiving national attention because it’s believed to mark the first time any of the same-sex couples married in Massachusetts have sought a divorce in another state. The Rhode Island Supreme Court is weighing this question: 'May the Family Court properly recognize, for the purpose of entertaining a divorce petition, the marriage of two persons of the same sex who were purportedly married in another state?'...."

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