CommunityMy FDL

Prop 8, Remarriage and Divorce

As those of us who were married in California this year confront several long months of insecurity regarding the long-term legal status of our marriages, there are some truly disturbing scenarios that could result from decisions by the California Supreme Court. Consider this possibility: that California decides not to recognize the marriages but also does not take the legal step to annul each and every one and provide the couples with documentation of that dissolution of marriage. In other words, California would not honor the marriage, but it wouldn't take actions to delete it from the books either.

Now imagine if one wants to remarry in a state like Massachusetts. If Massachusetts honors the legal status of the marriage contract, then one cannot get a new Massachusetts marriage license and get remarried (because one is already married, at least in the eyes of Massachusetts). At the same time, to get a marriage license in most states (and I'm not sure about Massachusetts here), one has to state whether one has been married before. The answer, in our case, is, of course, yes. (California may no longer recognize the marriage but it can't change history.) In order to get a new marriage license, one has to provide proof that the earlier marriage was dissolved, either through divorce, annulment, or death. There's no way to provide that proof because California never gave us the legal documents to state that our marriages have been annulled. (And annulled against our will, too!)

Even worse, what happens with divorce? If California doesn't recognize our marriage and we should want to get a divorce, it is logical to conclude that California would also not recognize a divorce action to dissolve our marriage. How is a couple who was legally married for 5 months in California supposed to get a divorce if the state doesn't recognize that marriage? Can California recognize same-sex divorce without tacitly recognizing same-sex marriage? Would it be possible to move to another state that does recognize the marriage, establish residence, and then get divorced?

These are only a couple of complex possibilities. Let's hope that the California Supreme Court invalidates Prop 8, but even if it doesn't, let us hope that it doesn't retroactively choose not to recognize marriages that were legal for a few months and leave 37,000 people in legal limbo.

Previous post

Slash of Guns N Roses comes out in favor of gay marriage

Next post

Bipartisan Proposal For Big 3 Restructuring