The District of Columbia's City Council
has approved a bill that would make it easier for gay and lesbian
couples to divorce in the municipality, the AP reported.
The bill, introduced in October by D.C.
Council member Phil Mendelson, would allow an out-of-state gay couple
married in the District to divorce there without one or both members
becoming residents of the District.
Under the District's current law,
approved in 2009, out-of-state gay couples are welcome to marry in
the city. However, divorcing in a state that does not recognize such
unions can be complicated. Currently, only residents can dissolve
their D.C. marriage through the District's courts. That is, at least
one person of the divorcing couple would need to live in the city for
six months before filing for a divorce.
The new bill gives out-of-state gay
couples access to the District's courts, provided their home state
does not recognize their divorce.
“In order to maintain basic dignity
for couples married in the District, and unable to divorce in their
home state, this bill is necessary,” gay activist Bob Summersgill
testified at a December hearing.
“If we offer civil marriage, we must
offer civil divorce.”