Friday, July 25, 2008


HA! Here's an issue that's starting to pop up around the country: same sex divorce!

From today's Electoral-Vote commentary:
While same-sex marriage is a hot-button issue and frequently put on the ballot by Republican-leaning groups as a way of increasing turnout of like-minded people, practically every state has already had a referendum on this already so there is no gold left to mine here. But a new issue is arising: same-sex divorce. Anyone who never considered this possibility is very naive. Only half of all opposite-sex couples manage to stay together. Why should the odds be better for same-sex couples? While a few states and countries allow (same-sex) couples to come in, get married, and scoot out, few of them allow quickie divorces by out-of-state couples. Will we soon see ballot initiatives banning same-sex divorce? The trouble is that people who rally around "family values" don't like either same-sex marriage or divorce. Is it better for a same-sex couple to stay married (bad) or get divorced (bad)? Maybe the best way to look at this issue is as a business opportunity for some enterprising state.

This is the linked LA Times article -- which is really very thorough and definitely worth a read -- listing off some of the problems same-sex couples are experiencing as they go through their divorce:
"They've given us no choice but to be married forever," said Ormiston. "Their worst nightmare."...

Because federal law defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, the federal government doesn't extend many standard divorce benefits to same-sex couples. As a result, say lawyers familiar with the issues, even in states where gay couples are allowed to divorce, they face financial consequences that heterosexual couples don't. Among them:

* If a judge orders a heterosexual couple to divide a pension during a divorce, federal law allows the pension to be divided without triggering early-withdrawal penalties. Divorcing gay couples must pay the penalties.

* Court-ordered alimony payments can be deducted from federal income taxes in straight divorces, but not in same-sex divorces.

* In gay divorces, when a judge orders one party to give money or other assets to a spouse, those assets may be subject to gift or income taxes.

* When real property is transferred from joint ownership to one gay spouse by a court order, capital-gains taxes are often triggered.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say the issues were to be expected.

"These problems illustrate why it is a bad idea to redefine marriage in California in a way that is at odds with the rest of the country," said Andrew Pugno, legal advisor to, a coalition of churches, organizations and individuals supporting the California Marriage Protection Act on the November ballot.
Very very strange rhetoric going on around this one. It harkens back to a straight supporter once telling me: Of course I think you guys have the right to be married... you have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.

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