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Til Death Do You Part

Several months ago, my significant other and I were married. We got married in New York City, partially because we met there and had family and friends in the area. Like all couples, we went to the City Clerk’s office to get our marriage license. In a fabulous restaurant overlooking the East River, we had a beautiful ceremony followed by a wonderful lunch reception attended by about 50 of our closest family and friends. To cap it all off, our wedding announcement appeared in the New York Times the following day.

Of course, everything is perfect between my new spouse and me at this time in our relationship, but what if doesn’t work out? What if our relationship goes the way of nearly half of all marriages? Do we just get a divorce? Fortunately or unfortunately, no, we can’t get divorced. My spouse and I are residents of Florida. Because we are both male, Florida family law doesn’t recognize our marriage. We can’t go to back to New York to get a divorce. Although you don’t have to be a resident of New York State to get married there, you do have to be a resident to get divorced there.

Presently ten states and the District of Columbia do, or soon will allow couples of the same sex to marry. Ten more states provide some legal protections for same sex couples through either civil unions or domestic partnership registration. Almost all states that offer marriage equality generally require residency to apply for divorce. However, the District of Columbia has passed legislation to allow couples who get married there to also get divorced there regardless of residency. Other states are considering such legislation, but New York is not one of them. So, for now at least, it looks as though my spouse and I are stuck with each other. I guess you could say that it makes our marriage more traditional than marriages between opposite sex Floridians. Not until death, or a change in the law, do we part.

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