Normalizing Same-Sex “Marriage” through Divorce

The Washington Post has a disturbing article about the legal challenges facing same-sex couples who were married in Massachusetts but are now seeking divorces in other states. The basic quandary is this. Whereas states have laws providing for the division of assets, custody of children, payment of alimony, etc., states that do not recognize same-sex unions have no legal provisions for the dissolution of same-sex “marriages.” A case in point appears in the first paragraph.

‘When her three-year-old marriage broke up, the 44-year-old doctor assumed she and her ex would split their property and jointly parent their two children. Her stay-at-home spouse wanted sole custody and the right to move the children out of Massachusetts.

‘In pretrial motions, both parents made the same argument to a judge: The children should be with me; I’m their mother.

‘For years, family court judges leaned toward a maternal preference when it came to custody disputes. But what to do when both parents are women, or neither is? Judges in Massachusetts have been grappling with that question since gay and lesbian couples began filing for divorce in 2004, seven months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.’

The remainder of the article turns out not to be an objective news piece (which is purports to be), but an implicit argument aimed at pointing out the inequities of states that do not recognize same-sex “marriages” and thus divorces of the same.

‘Those who choose to end their marriages soon discover that the trauma of divorce is compounded by legal and financial difficulties that heterosexual couples generally are spared.

‘”One of the benefits of marriage is divorce,” said Joyce Kauffman, a Boston divorce lawyer who has handled a dozen same-sex divorce cases. “But for a lot of couples, that benefit is very complicated and very costly in ways that heterosexual couples would never have to experience.”‘

I don’t know of anyone else besides a divorce lawyer who could say with a straight face that divorce is a benefit of marriage. Yet this is precisely how low the cultural expectations have sunk when it comes to marriage. Unfortunately, this Post article seems to have embraced those expectations.

A law professor at Northwestern University is quoted at the end of the article saying this:

‘You have to have a way for people to get out of these things — otherwise, you have multiple claims on the same property and no protections for people entering into new marriages. I think states that try to adopt these rules refusing to recognize the marriages just haven’t thought it through.’

This professor could not be any more wrong. Opponents of same-sex “marriages” have thought this through, and we are of the opinion that the union of one male and one female is the only kind of union that should be privileged in law. All other unions are perversions that should not receive any kind of legal sanction from the state.

The irony of this whole situation is that now pressure will mount on states to recognize same-sex “marriages” from Massachusetts by putting pressure on them to make legal provisions for their divorces. This is but an incremental step toward the normalization of the “marriages” themselves in law. And make no mistake, this is precisely what the activists aimed to do when they fought for and won recognition in Massachusetts.

We’ll be watching this development very closely.


  • Courting Equality

    Denny, I’m surprised that you are shocked about seeing divorce as a “benefit” of marriage. In our book “Courting Equality” (Beacon Press,2007), we argue that equality means having all the rights, benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of every other American. That means having the right to dissolve a marriage. Check out some of the 110 color photos from our book, You’ll see many couples who are secure in marriage and who will be secure in being able to part equitably.

  • Paul

    Mr./Ms. Courting Equity,

    If you look through my posts throughout Denny’s blog, you’ll see that I’m largely the most liberal regular replier here. I actually think that the government has no place dictating who should get married and who shouldn’t. Actually, I think all marriages should be civil unions, and if a church wants to provide a ceremony and give a union its blessing, it should. I also think that no Christian has a right to tell you that you can’t get married because it’s a sin against God until other marital sins against God are deemed illegal as well, such as adultery. Not to mention, no one has a right to preach to you about the sanctity of marriage while the divorce rate of heterosexual marriages hovers around 50%.

    That said, the GLBT community has no right clammoring for marriage rights if they’re not going to take them seriously. Marriage is a lifelong agreement, and if people are going to make a mockery of it, then they shouldn’t be allowed to get married.

    Start courting equity when being secure in marriage means being secure for a lifetime, save for incidents of infidelity or abuse.

  • Stephen

    “… the GLBT community has no right clammoring for marriage rights if they’re not going to take them seriously. Marriage is a lifelong agreement, and if people are going to make a mockery of it, then they shouldn’t be allowed to get married.”

    Um, yeah, like all of those hetero couples who take it so seriously (Britney, anyone?) … and if you’re serious about this, I expect you to advocate for the abolishment of divorce — all of them.

    But really, who exactly gets to judge if you are going to take your marriage seriously or not? Who determines what constitutes “mockery” of marriage? Who gets to determine these things, set the standards, etc?

  • Stephen


    “All other unions are perversions …”

    According to who? By what standard? By what authority is this claim being made? If all you’ve got is “The Bible,” well, sorry, but I don’t read fiction. Is your next argument going to be that all non-Christians must either convert or leave the country? Seriously?

  • Paul

    Stephen, in your first post, you were pretty much preaching to the choir (well, if the choir is me, anyway), to a point. You’re right, marriage is already a mockery in far too many situations, and until things like adultery are considered punishable offenses, no one has any right talking about the sanctity of marriage.

    But, if you’re going to get those rights, shouldn’t you cherish them? If marriage among the GLBT community is going to be just as (if not more) disposable than in the straight community, then what’s the point?

    And, Stephen, if I had my way, yes, all divorces, save for cases of abuse or infidelity, would be illegal.

    Now, as for your second post, no, The Bible isn’t fiction, no matter how much you may wish it so. And where is the attitude coming from anyway? Don’t be such a pouty-face!

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