US: Indiana judge grants first same-sex divorce
An Indiana judge has granted a couple the first same-sex divorce in the state.
According to the Indy Star, Judge Valeri Haughton granted the state’s first same-sex divorce to Melanie Davis and Angela Summers.
The couple had been unable to divorce previously as Davis is a trans woman and they married before her transition, which the court last year said left them unable to recognise the marriage in order to dissolve it.
However, that judgement was overturned by the Court of Appeals, who found: “Under the specific facts and circumstances before us in this case, a marriage between a man and a woman that was valid when it was entered into does not automatically become void when one of the parties has his or her birth certificate amended to indicate a change of gender.
“The statute prohibiting same-sex marriage does not apply to the particular set of circumstances in this case because the parties did not enter into a same-sex marriage in Indiana or into a same-sex marriage that was solemnized in another state.”
US District Judge Richard Young last week struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, allowing couples to begin marrying immediately.
On Saturday, an appeals court stayed the ruling, putting the ban on marriages back in place until the conclusion of the appeal.
Haughton said: “It was a little ironic. Last week I did about 20 marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples and in the midst of that I did what was probably the state’s first same-sex divorce.”
Same-sex couples in states including Tennessee and Kansas have previously fought for the right to divorce.