A few weeks ago, Pennsylvania finally got on the bandwagon and joined several other states in making same-sex marriage legal. Of course, many people in our state are already married to someone of the same sex. Ever since same-sex marriage became legal in some parts of the country a decade ago, couples have gone away to get married and then returned to their home states.
For Pennsylvania couples who did this, the marriage was not recognized by our state government. And because a state that could not marry two people of the same sex could not divorce two people of the same sex either, this created a quandary for people looking to divorce their same-sex spouse.
Unfortunately, many states’ laws regarding divorce were not as permissive as those regarding marriage. New York, for example, requires someone to live in the state for a year before getting a divorce. This is a huge barrier for people who live in another state. Until now, they have been in a kind of legal limbo.
Now that same-sex marriage is legal here, however, those couples are able to get divorced. It’s not likely that anyone who’s been married here, in the first few weeks since it was allowed, is yet ready to divorce, but there are plenty of people who got married elsewhere who are.
In fact, the first same-sex divorce case in Erie County involved two people who got married in New York in 2011. The idea of marriage equality is finally coming into being in our state — someone ironically because of the ability to divorce.
Source: Erie Times-News, “Erie County records first same-sex divorce case,” Ed Palattella, June 3, 2014