Same-Sex Divorce Not Easy

As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married same-sex couples in the now 13 states and the District of Columbia where such unions are legal become eligible for equal benefits under numerous federal programs; however, generally, gay couples can divorce only in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriages, with some exceptions.

As of August, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and five Native American tribes permit same-sex marriage. Some states, including Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming do not permit same-sex marriage, but do allow same-sex divorces.  When Delaware and Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in May 2013, the states gave their respective state courts the authority to conduct divorce proceedings when a same-sex couple married in the state but neither party resides in a state that recognizes their marriage.

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