New York magazine takes a look
at divorce equality as an increasing number of gay and lesbian
The cover story, titled From “I
Do” to “I'm Done,” chronicles the relationship and marriage
of Kevin Muir and Sam Richie. Both in their 20s when they met in
1997, they are among the youngest gay couples to split after legally
tying the knot.
They said “I do” in 2004, marrying
11 days after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay
marriage, and “I'm done” seven years later.
Sam said that their matrimonial bond
cracked in the course of an adoption process. Kevin disagreed,
saying the cause was rooted in his drinking problem.
“My not drinking, and my not wanting
to be exposed to things surrounding drinking, is what ultimately
caused me to say, 'I need you to leave this house,'” Kevin
explained. “Sam is a beautiful, loving, generous, amazing guy. If
I had continued to drink, we would still be together.”
Susan Sommer, director of
constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal, explained that gay
couples face significant barriers to obtaining a divorce.
“[B]y and large, even if states have
no residency requirement to marry, they do have a residency
requirement to divorce,” Sommer
told the magazine.
That means that a gay couple living in
Georgia but married in California in 2008 can't divorce in Georgia,
because the state does not recognize the marriage, and could probably
only get divorced in California if they take up residency in the
state, which could take up to a year.
“It gives wedlock a whole new
meaning,” Sommer said. “They're trapped.”
“And it has terrible and profound
consequences for them,” she added. “First of all, you can't
enter into a new marriage, or for that matter a new civil union or
domestic partnership. So you can commit bigamy and might be subject
to criminal prosecution.”
Kevin and Sam, now divorced, no longer
speak to each other.