Dec 03, 2008

Careful What We Ask For

They really get you coming and going with this marriage thing, don't they? First, we fight and fight to get the right to marry, and sometimes we succeed. Same-sex marriage in Canada has been legal for years now. Great, right? Sure, unless you want to end your Canadian marriage and you live in Oklahoma, where the family court won't grant you a divorce.

That's what happened to two lesbians who wed in Toronto in 2003, moved to Oklahoma, and have been trying since 2005 to get a divorce there. A ruling last week denied one partner's request for a divorce from her wife, on the basis that because Oklahoma doesn't recognize same-sex marriages, there is no valid marriage to end.

It used to be, if you were married you were married. Now, you can be married in one place and not so much in another. A lawyer friend of mine calls this "discrimination by complication," and I think he's right. For more about non-recognition issues and marriage, check out this Nolo article.