What’s tougher to get than a same-sex marriage? A same-sex divorce Los Angeles Times, CA -
Posted on August 3, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — On the morning of May 26, 2004, Cassandra Ormiston and her long-time partner Margaret Chambers arose early, hopped in the car and raced across the border into Massachusetts.
Then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, had already ordered some Massachusetts cities to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples who lived outside the state, and Ormiston and Chambers hoped to get to nearby Fall River before the ban took effect there.
By afternoon, they were married.
“I was so elated,” Ormiston said. “When I was in college, I was Chapter 9 in abnormal psych. To be able to marry the woman I loved at the age of 58 — my feet didn’t touch the ground for days.”
Then, after two years of marriage, the 10-year relationship soured, and Chambers filed for divorce. That put the couple into a legal limbo that is becoming increasingly common as same-sex couples married in one state try to divorce in another.
A judge in Family Court, where divorces are handled, asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court for a ruling on whether his court had jurisdiction, given that Rhode Island doesn’t recognize gay marriage. The state Supreme Court decided that the women weren’t legally married in the eyes of the state and therefore couldn’t get divorced.
Chambers then tried filing for divorce in the state’s Superior Court, but last month a judge there ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over marriage dissolutions. A Massachusetts divorce isn’t an option because only residents who have lived in the state for a year can file there.
“They’ve given us no choice but to be married forever,” said Ormiston. “Their worst nightmare.”
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