In Arizona same-sex marriage is prohibited by both statute and the state constitution. Aside from the political and religious rhetoric surrounding the issue, if a gay couple gets married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, can they get divorced in states that don’t? Gay couples are asking that very question as it is uncharted territory, at the moment.
Recently the state of Maryland weighed in on the issue and found that a gay couple could be divorced there despite state law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage. The Maryland Court of Appeals said the trial court could withhold recognition of a valid foreign marriage only if that marriage is “repugnant” to state public policy. They found that the gay marriage before them did not meet that criteria.
The Maryland decision is likely to send shockwaves throughout the legal community as a precedent-setting case other states could look to for guidance and authority. Proponents for same-sex divorce are also likely to cite the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, sec. 1) that commands states to recognize “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of every other state recognized in other states.” Proponents could argue that the public act of marriage and the recording of a marriage license in a state recognizing gay marriage should be recognized in states forbidding it.
At the Cantor Law Group, we recognize and follow these types of legal issues so that we can represent our clients to the best of our abilities. The law changes constantly. Therefore, as a professional family law firm, it is important that we are committed to aggressively pursuing all of our clients’ needs and finding distinctions wherever needed.
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