As DOMA Dies, Hopes Rise for Gay Divorce

State laws have left many stuck in marriages they can't end

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2013 1:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act has raised hopes for couples trapped in marriages that they cannot end because the state they live in doesn't accept they exist, the New York Times finds. "I didn’t realize this could potentially be an issue, that we couldn’t divorce when we wanted to," says a Florida man who wants to divorce the man he married in New Hampshire but can't without returning to the New England state to reside for at least a year.

Most states that don't allow same-sex marriage also refuse to allow same-sex divorce, with the exception of Wyoming. In 2010, a Texas court overturned a decision allowing two Dallas men who married in Massachusetts to divorce. But experts say the DOMA decision is broad enough to provide challenges to state laws, a move "which would have lots of positive effects, including being able to free people from relationships they no longer want to be in," says a Florida lawyer and gay rights advocate.

Gay marriages, like any other, sometimes end bitterly.
Gay marriages, like any other, sometimes end bitterly.   (Shutterstock)
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If you’re going to let people into a relationship, you’ve got to let them get out. - Elizabeth Schwartz, a lawyer and
gay rights advocate in Miami Beach

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