What About Gay Divorce?

June 19, 2013 in inQueery


Why must the LGBTQ community have to struggle every step of the way? If you thought the struggle for equal recognition in marriage was hard, well I got news for you, trying to get a divorce is even harder than trying to get married! In 2004, just seven months after the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, same-sex couples started emerging to file for divorce.

Why is it so hard for same-sex couples to get a divorce? In 1996 Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage that occurred in another state. In 2013 still many same-sex couples travel to other states other than where they reside in order to legally be recognized as a legitimate couple. However, it is this very same Defense of Marriage Act that prevents same-sex couples from filing for divorce; if a state does not recognize same-sex marriage, then under Federal Law, the state merely sees these individuals as strangers.

Currently, in order for same-sex couples to be legally divorced the couple must reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. If the same-sex couple does not reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, then they will have to move to a state that does and establish residency. The period of time to establish residency varies from state to state, California requires two years while Massachusetts only requires a year before a divorce can be granted. And that’s to only get a pre-trial court date.

Unfortunately, any divorce is messy and becomes messier when children, property, and taxes are involved in dissolving a marriage that is neither legitimized by nor legal in most states.

If you want to hear more about gay divorce check out this podcast: Throwing Shade #71

Cherry Luu is a guest contributor at InQueery & has a background in Mental Health.
You can follow Cherry’s personal and business life adventures on Instagram