As same-sex couples continue to fight for the right to marry in many U.S. States, another major challenge is facing gay couples wishing to legally terminate their union. Kathleen Vacca is a recent example of a Florida resident being denied a divorce because the state does not recognize the legitimacy her same-sex marriage. Read that story here. A similar Hillsborough County case has received support from the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has asked that the Florida Supreme Court settle the same-sex divorce case.
The ongoing denial of same-sex divorce in states that ban gay marriage is causing confusion for clients, attorneys, and courts alike. Here are some questions that the legal community should consider and discuss:
What would it mean for Florida’s same-sex marriage ban if they permitted same-sex divorce?
Is Florida’s same-sex ban unconstitutional in its treatment of gay and lesbian couples?
Florida does not recognize common-law marriages but accepts them if they are valid in other states. What would the implications be if Florida began treating same-sex marriage in a similar manner?
Why should a legally married same-sex couple’s right to equal protection and access to the courts be dependent on their residing state?
Are gay spouses legally married in Florida under federal law?
How should federal courts respond to appeals for divorce from same-sex couples residing in states that do not recognize gay marriage?
Does the law place an unfair burden or limitation on same-sex couples who move to a state where gay marriage is not recognized?
Since the state does not recognize the union, is divorce even necessary for same-sex couples residing in Florida?
Should the Florida Supreme Court agree to resolve the Hillsborough County same-sex divorce case?
How would you advise a client seeking a same-sex divorce in one of the 31 states that does not recognize gay marriage?
Should marriage equality and divorce equality receive the same level of attention and advocacy?