Same-sex couples fought so long for the right to be legally married in the United States that many people both within and without the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community treat a same-sex divorce as something akin to a tragedy of epic proportions.
It’s really not. In fact, some same-sex couples have found that they have as much reason to celebrate their same-sex divorce as they did their marriage.
Why? Because same-sex divorces contribute to the concept of marriage equality just as much as same-sex marriages do. They’re a reminder that the couple made a legal commitment to each other and cannot simply “break up” and move apart. Each partner has rights and obligations as a result of their legal union. Property has to be divided. Alimony has to be considered. Child custody (or custody of a pet) has to be decided. Support and visitation have to be figured out. All of this has to be done before either party can fully move on.
Marriage equality has always been about sameness. The right to divorce is as much a part of equality as the right to get married. As one man put it after divorcing his husband, “I get to get divorced. Our community has been protected from that side of things, but it’s part of the deal.” Same-sex couples won — along with the right to wed — the right to be unhappy after they do it and to go through all of the inconvenience of divorce, the same way that heterosexual couples do.
If you’re in a same-sex marriage that’s unhappy, work with an attorney who is understanding and supportive of your emotional needs during this period.