Same Sex Divorce- Granted!

As I predicted in this blog, same sex divorce has come to New York. A Supreme Court judge in Broome County has granted a same-sex Binghamton couple a divorce.

As pointed out at, this divorce is a bit ironic.

New York doesn't allow same-sex marriages, but state Justice Molly R. Fitzgerald allowed Lauren Wells-Weiss to divorce her partner, Shari Weiss. The two married Aug. 13, 2004, in Toronto, after a private religious ceremony before family and friends in Ithaca in 2001.

The case is paradoxical, said both women's attorneys, because in their opinion the judge recognized the lesbian couple was married, although New York state law doesn't allow same-sex marriages.

New York will recognize as valid, marriages which were legal where they were solemnized, even if they would not valid if the marriage took place in New York.

Although New York will not allow same sex couples to wed, in the past year, there has been a line of cases which have recognized, as valid, same sex marriages lawfully performed in Canada and Massachusetts. In these cases, courts have extended to same sex couples legal rights previously only available to lawfully wed couples.

My only disappointment is that I had hoped that one of the same sex divorce cases I am presently working on would be New York’s first. Perhaps I will have to take consolation in representing litigants in the first New York City same-sex divorce.


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