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Home » Articles » Who’s Eligible for Divorce? Not Just Straight Couples, Says Ohio Judge

Amy M. Levine
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Who’s Eligible for Divorce? Not Just Straight Couples, Says Ohio Judge

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You’ve seen the headlines about gay marriage…but gay divorce?

Like any other long-term, committed relationship, gay marriages can sometimes come on hard times. And, although gay marriage is not recognized in the state, one Ohio judge recently made a ruling that indicates gay divorce very well may be.

Same-Sex Columbus Couple Married In New York, Divorced At Home

Two Columbus men, Jonathan Baize and Stephen Wissman, both 31, were granted a divorce in mid March by a private judge appointed by the Franklin County Domestic Relations Court. While it is certainly unorthodox for both parties in an Ohio divorce proceeding to be men, one Columbus divorce attorney described the 10-minute hearing to the Columbus Dispatch as “unremarkable.”

The men were married on Sept. 1, 2011 in a ceremony in New York. They returned to Columbus, but later agreed to divorce – a decision that raised questions about Ohio law.

In 2004, Ohio voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that barred gay marriage. Supporters of the prohibition on same-sex marriage argued that by granting a divorce to a gay couple, a court would be tacitly acknowledging that the marriage was, in fact, valid.

Yet, proponents pointed out that Ohio’s applicable state law and constitutional marriage amendment refer only to marriage, not divorce. The judge handling the same-sex divorce apparently accepted this interpretation, and tidily dissolved the men’s New York marriage.

While March’s gay divorce may be among the first of its kind in Ohio, it is unlikely to be the last. Even with Ohio’s marriage amendment in place, legal questions surrounding the status of same-sex couples abound.

Gay Marriage Subject of Pressing Developments, But Same-Sex Couples May Benefit From Legal Protections Already In Place

It is uncertain exactly what the future holds for Ohio’s same-sex couples. Indeed, some groups are intent on redefining marriage yet again though a constitutional amendment, this time allowing for same-sex marital unions in Ohio.

Whatever the outcome of these efforts, it is clear that same-sex couples still have family law tools at their disposal. Even without a marriage recognized in Ohio, gay couples may be able to turn to an established procedure to part ways equitably – as evidenced by the recent gay divorce ruling.

While it can be a thorny subject in a state that bans same-sex marriage, gay divorce – or whatever you want to call its procedural equivalent – can nonetheless offer important safeguards for individuals at the end of a relationship. To learn more, get in touch with a Columbus divorce attorney today.

Amy M. Levine
View Profile

Our Latest Blog Posts

4 common mistakes that drivers make after a crash

It’s an all-too-common experience. Another car hits yours while you are driving through town, on your way to work or headed out for a weekend trip with your family. This crash can leave you shaken up, but making mistakes after a crash could make it difficult to get...

4 details that are often overlooked in divorce

The process of divorce is complex, and a divorce can impact many aspects of your life. How will you divide your property? Will you need to move to a new home?  How will you adjust to life in a single-income household? What will happen to your kids? With so many...

A comprehensive checklist: What to do after a car accident

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is incredibly stressful, potentially painful and usually expensive. Knowing what steps to take if you find yourself in this scenario may mean the difference between panic and decisive action. Are you equipped to handle this...

How can I help my children adjust to my divorce?

When you file for divorce, you’re changing not only your life – but the life of your children as well. Divorce for parents can be even more emotional and challenging because of how all the changes will affect their kids. For parents, it’s crucial to offer children as...

Hiring divorce attorneys

When a marriage is no longer working out, many believe that divorce might be inevitable. As difficult as this trying time may be, it is vital for the couple to seek understanding, aggressive and compassionate divorce attorneys that will fight for their well-being and...

Visit Our Blog

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