Same-sex marriage continues to be a hot topic since the Supreme Court’s ruling in June which provided that states could no longer deny couples the right to marry based on sexual orientation. One question that has not been addressed, but that will certainly continue to come up more and more, is how will the ruling affect same-sex divorce. Many same-sex couples that were married in states where gay marriage was legal before the Supreme Court’s ruling are now waiting to get a divorce, these couples could not legally divorce in prohibition states, including in Michigan.
One such case is playing out in Mississippi, which like Michigan did not allow same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling. That means gay and lesbian couples that had married in another state and sought to end their marriage in Mississippi, could not be legally divorced in the state. However, Mississippi’s Attorney General has petitioned the state Supreme Court to permit a female couple to file for divorce. The couple in question was married in California in 2008 but separated in 2010 after moving to Mississippi.
They have been waiting to divorce since then. While they could have gone back to California to get legally divorced they had argued that they should not be treated differently than any other Mississippi couple. In 2013, a judge ruled that he could not grant the couple a divorce due to the state Constitution. However, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, the attorney general says that argument is no longer valid and that the previous ruling should be overturned. While based in Mississippi, this case could still have widespread implications for other states that had similar same-sex marriage bans, like Michigan.
The right to marry and divorce is now a right that every couple is afforded. While gay marriage has received much more attention than same-sex divorce, it’s very possible that same-sex divorce may still encounter many more issues in the future because it is relatively new. However, there’s no doubt that some same-sex couples in Michigan will also want to divorce. That means that just like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples will need to contact an experienced Michigan divorce attorney. If you are in need of a family law attorney in Michigan contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins by clicking here or by calling 248-646-7980.