The Gay Divorce Trap

gaywedding-04When couples marry, eventually some of them will divorce. Lizzie Crocker at The Daily Beast looks at the flip side of the marriage equality debate.

Few couples say “I do” with the assumption that they’ll at some point break that vow. In recent years, marriage-equality advocates have channeled their energy into momentous victories on the state and federal level—Minnesota became the 13th state to legalize gay marriage in May, just before the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Defense of Marriage—but the issue of gay divorce is an often overlooked aspect of the fight for marriage equality.

It seems obvious that anyone who has the right to marry should also have the right to divorce. And yet that right doesn’t always extend to same-sex couples, exposing a fundamentally flawed legal regime that could take years to catch up with heterosexual marriage. “Divorce is by no means romantic, but it is still one of the most profoundly important incidents as a right of civil marriage,” says Allen Drexel, a divorce lawyer specializing in family law.

When compared with the voluminous public debate on the legal intricacies of gay marriage, there has been a relative lack of discussion surrounding gay divorce. Because same-sex marriage is adjudicated differently by different states, countless complications arise in how each approach issues of inheritance, pensions, and divorce.

We’re already seeing these battles pop up around the US, in states that don’t yet recognize marriage equality.


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