According to the Associated Press, the state of Delaware has moved forward to remove homosexuality as sexual misconduct for divorce. And as much as this new legislative bill is moving the rights of the LGBT community in the right direction, knowing that such laws still exist in our country angers me.
I consider myself lucky to have been able to marry in Massachusetts back in 2004, long before any other state afforded this right to same-sex couples. Because of this, I was also able to divorce in 2014 and be eligible for the same protections as my heterosexual counterparts. But our state laws still have much to define when it comes to divorce across the United States.
There are many people in our community who are currently struggling to have rights to their homes, children and other benefits because the same-sex marriage did not become legal until June 2015. So the big question still remains, how will the courts address LGBT divorce issues in the face of long-term discrimination?
It is safe to state that divorce equality is the next chapter in the American Gay Rights Movement. But, we will need the support of our straight allies and every LGBT organization to move this process forward. Historically, the U.S. has dragged their feet when it comes to our legal protections:
1980 Democrats endorse a homosexual rights platform
1982 Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation
- 1993 “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. Homosexuals are no longer barred from military service based on their sexual orientation. (Law repealed in 2010 allowing LGBT to serve their country openly)
- 2000 Vermont becomes the first state to legalize same-sex civil unions
- 2003 Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws are unconstitutional
- 2004 Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage
- 2009 President Obama allows same-sex partners of federal employees to receive certain benefits (does not include full health benefits)
- 2011 President Obama states that his administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act
- 2015 Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in the United States
We can now add Delaware’s ban on homosexuality as misconduct in divorce to this abbreviated list of legal wins in the past 36 years. I look forward to a day when we no longer have to fight for the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts.
Marjorie Soto’s gay marriage ended in divorce. Marjorie believes that there is a persistent denial that lesbian divorce exists. She blogs about this and other LGBT divorce issues at LifeInJeans.com. She helps lesbians impacted by divorce find a community so they don’t have to go at it alone. Life in Jeans provides support through real stories and experiences.