While Massachusetts is a notable exception, most states do not recognize same-sex marriages to be valid. Instead, they often insist that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and impose various legal restrictions to keep it that way.
For many same-sex couples living outside of Massachusetts as well as other states that allow gay marriage, this can be a huge source of frustration. Same-sex couples who reside in states who do not recognize their marriage have been caught up in a marital discord limbo while fighting for their rights to divorce.
However, there are indications that many states are recognizing the downside to these limitations and are beginning to permit the dissolution of same-sex marriages. Some states are beginning to allow same-sex couples many of the same rights and privileges as the more traditional marriages surrounding issues such as child custody and divorce, among others.
States who do not recognize same-sex marriages argue that if they permit a same-sex divorce, by default they are acknowledging the legitimacy of the marriage.
In recent news, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that if a same-sex couple resides in the state and was legally married in another jurisdiction, they can receive a divorce in Maryland.
For many supporters of gay marriage, this change is regarded as a victory. After all, they argue that before gay marriage can be legalized for any state, gay marriages must be recognized as valid. They feel that divorce is one way in which a state can recognize valid marriages. While this does not mean that same-sex marriages will necessarily be allowed, it is a significant leap forward for the rights of same-sex couples. In this way, it is hoped that other states may finally catch up with what Massachusetts has been doing for quite some time.
Source: WSAV TV, “Md. highest court recognizes same-sex divorce,” Brian Witte, May 18, 2012