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Virginia Court Says Same-Sex Relationships “Analogous to” Marriage

The Virginia Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that a same-sex couple could be living together in a situation “similar `but not identical in form and substance’ to a marriage.”

Interestingly, the ruling stems from an opposite-sex couple’s divorce, and is to the detriment of the ex-husband’s now-openly-lesbian wife.The husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife $4,000 in support per month, until either person’s death or the woman’s remarriage or “cohabitation with any person … in a situation analogous to marriage.”

When the woman began a relationship with another woman, moved in and shared parenting duties, her ex-husband tried to end the payments. A lower court ruled that the ex-wife’s lesbian relationship was not “analogous to marriage” given the state’s same-sex marriage ban, and so the payments had to continue.

The appeals court said what mattered was the contract between the husband and wife and the woman’s new relationship, not the public policy on same-sex marriage.

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