31 julio 2009

New Jersey Issues Gay Divorces; Still No Marriage

Here’s another reason why the whole concept of separate civil unions instead of same-sex marriage is a terrible idea: New Jersey.

New Jersey happily recognises same-sex marriages performed out-of-state, but in-state, only civil unions can be issued for gay couples. Well, now a New Jersey couple who married in Canada in 2004 wants a divorce so one half can re-marry. Canada won’t issue a divorce because they aren’t citizens; New Jersey, until now, wouldn’t do it because they could only dissolve gay civil unions, not marriages; and, of course, Canada won’t let the other half re-marry if they don’t get a proper divorce first. What a mess!

Enter Judge Mary Jacobson, who ruled that the couple should be able to get a divorce within New Jersey because the state has a history of divorcing foreign marriages. This ruling comes much to the chagrin of The Attorney General’s Office, which had argued that only civil union dissolutions should be allowed for same-sex couples in-state, even if they were fully married, not civil-unioned. The argument resolved around the idea that allowing same-sex divorce would eventually lead to same-sex marriage.

So, there you go. Civil unions have become entangled in the long tentacles of the law, the state is arguing that divorce leads to gay marriage, and we’re now left with this fun fact: In New Jersey, same-sex couples can’t get married—but they’ll be happy to divorce you!

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