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Same-sex divorce sets precedent in one state

Same-sex couples throughout the state of Illinois and across the country have been confronted with complex legal issues concerning the status of their relationships for years now, and despite the fact that same-sex marriage has been legalized in Illinois, many other states don’t currently acknowledge such unions. Interestingly, however, one state that refuses to grant gay marriage has recognized a same-sex divorce for the first time.

In states that have not yet legalized same-sex marriage, couples are known to leave and have their unions legally recognized in another state. For instance, Massachusetts hosted a large number of same-sex marriages at a time when it was the first state to legalize the practice. At the same time, though, Massachusetts refuses to grant divorces to couples that leave the state after being married. As a result, many same-sex couples that live in states that don’t recognize their unions are left without the legal option of getting divorced.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Missouri, since marriage is defined as the union between a heterosexual couple in the state constitution. Even so, one County Circuit Court judge recently granted a divorce to a same-sex couple. The ruling is the first of its kind in the state, and was based on the legal practice of recognizing the laws of other states.

The judge that presided over the case explained that the state of Missouri is obligated to adhere to the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and provide same-sex couples with due process. She also argued that there are instances in the past where Missouri courts ruled on marriages that were not recognized under the law.

Source: Columbia Daily Tribune, “Boone County judge grants gay couple a divorce,” Andrew Denney, May 4, 2014

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