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Bill under consideration could make same-sex divorce a lot easier

Because not all jurisdictions perform and recognize same-sex marriage, many people from states in those categories travel to places where it is permitted in order to get married. Texas does not permit same-sex marriage, so many couples wanting to get married may have gone to Washington, D.C., after the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.

However, when same-sex marriage was made legal in the District, the six-month residency requirement for divorce was not changed. This meant that a couple from Texas or anywhere else who had come to Washington just to get married could do so, but they would not be able to divorce in the nation's capital unless they became residents for six months--which is obviously a nearly impossible burden to bear for people who live elsewhere.

Now the D.C. Council is weighing a bill that would waive that requirement for same-sex couples. The legislation, known as the Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Amendment, would allow couples to circumvent the residency requirement for divorce. Already, other states such as California and Delaware have passed laws that minimize the issue of residency for couples wishing to divorce.

One official with a gay advocacy group says that the revised laws make it easier for divorcing same-sex couples to move on, similar to opposite-sex couples. She says divorce often serves as something that brings closure to a relationship. With the same options available to them as any other couples, same-sex couples from Texas will find their levels of confusion and complication reduced when they decide to end their marriages.

Source: The Washington Post, "D.C. weighs same-sex divorce bill," Katie Rogers, Dec. 22, 2011

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

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