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Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts could lead to messy divorce

The Supreme Court frequently rules on cases that have an impact on the nation as a whole. The country has been anxiously waiting for the Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, including states such as Massachusetts that currently allow it. Not only does the anticipated ruling have the potential to settle whether gay couples have the right to marry, it also has the potential of resolving issues resolving same-sex divorce.

Many complications are caused by different laws in different states. A gay couple that lives in a state that does not allow same-sex marriage might travel to a state that does allow for their union. For example, they might travel to Massachusetts, marry and then return to their home state.

While same-sex marriages end in divorce at about half the rate of heterosexual marriages, divorce is sometimes necessary. Those gay couples who wed in one state and live in another that does not allow same-sex marriage face special difficulties if they wish to seek a divorce. They have to file for divorce in another state. Unfortunately, many states have residency requirements for divorce-anywhere from six month to two years. Divorce is further complicated for residence of the United States who sought a same-sex marriage in Canada.

Gay rights activists in Massachusetts and all over the state hope that a Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage will ease the complications of same-sex partners who seek divorce. Many argue that all people of legal age should have the same right to marry, and divorce, without maneuvering around the country to find laws that best suit their needs. Perhaps the ruling can apply uniformity to the law in order to reduce the messiness for gay couples.

Source: Business Insider, “Gay Divorce Can Be Really, Really Messy In America Right Now,” Fabienne Faur, March 22, 2013

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