Gay couples around the US seem to be in a quandary when it comes to divorce. While they may tie the knot in a state that permits same-sex marriages, living in a state like Missouri where the constitution does not recognize such marriages becomes complicated if the couple decide to divorce, say St. Louis divorce attorneys. Marc Solomon, national campaign director with Freedom to Marry said that same sex couples need more clarity in terms of the law.
There are other people who believe they should just remain in states that are more kind to them. Many states believe that a gay marriage is unnatural and they should have the right to not recognize that sort of union.
Gay couple denied divorce in St. Louis
Although some of the lower courts in Missouri seem to increasingly favor same-sex marriages, the state still hasn’t joined 35 other states that legally accept gay marriages. Two St. Louis men who filed a divorce petition have had their case makes it way to the Missouri Supreme Court. M.S. and D.S. were married in December 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa, where their marriage was recognized.
They were one among almost 6,000 couples who married in Iowa since same-sex marriages was legalized in 2009. The couple decided to separate after nine months and filed a divorce petition in St. Louis County stating irreconcilable differences. However, according to St. Louis divorce attorneys, the family court judge denied their petition.
A matter of dissolution
The gay couple’s divorce attorneys filed a petition in the Missouri Supreme Court, arguing that the case was not about the legalities of recognizing a marriage but to get the circuit court to grant a dissolution of the marriage. According to legal experts, the same argument was valid in a case heard by the Wyoming Supreme Court three years ago of a lesbian couple who married in Canada.
The court ruled that the law in Wyoming against same-sex marriages was not diminished merely by recognizing a same-sex marriage performed in a foreign country when the sole purpose was to entertain a divorce proceeding. Following the ruling, the lesbian couple had their divorce petition granted.
A valid argument across the country’s courts
A divorce attorney for M.S. in his arguments in the state high court said the decade old constitutional ban must be lifted since it violated the clauses of the 14th amendment of the US Constitution with reference to equal protection and due process. The argument has so far been deemed valid in several cases across the country.
A ruling is expected in the case in the near future. Going up to the Missouri Supreme Court was a viable option in the case of M.S. and D.S. since going back to Iowa would not solve the problem. One of the conditions of divorce in Iowa is a residency requirement where one of the men must live in the state for a year prior to being able to file a divorce petition.
On the other hand, states like Illinois that recently began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, permit such couples that get married in the state to divorce there irrespective of their current state of residence but this is the same state that pushed higher taxes onto businesses only to watch them to flee to Indiana and Wisconsin.
The situation in Missouri may have a chance, since the courts in the state are currently dealing with various issues related to same-sex marriages. This includes employment benefits to same sex spouses of employees, the issue of marriage licenses, and granting of divorces for same-sex couples married in other states.