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Wyoming recognizes same-sex divorce – but not marriage

Calling same-sex marriage a controversial issue might be an understatement. Many states have added constitutional amendments to ban it. Wyoming is not one of them, yet, but the issue is coming up in courts in multi-faceted ways.

According to the Wyoming Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is not recognized in that state. But divorce? That’s another story.

The court reversed an earlier district court ruling early this week, ordering that a same-sex couple could divorce in Niobrara County. The women had been legally married in Canada in 2008. Even though at least one of the women does not live in the county any longer, the court found the couple could still pursue the divorce there because that is where the petition was filed.

According to a Trib.com article, the court did not address the same-sex marriage issue, except to say that its decision to overturn the earlier ruling could occur only because the marriage took place in a foreign jurisdiction that allowed the marriage. The court’s decision made clear that it was not condoning same-sex marriage.

It did not exactly condemn it either, noting that the recognition of same-sex marriage was an issue that should be left for another time.

And it probably will be addressed sometime in the next year or two. Some states, such as Minnesota, are putting it to voters to decide if amendments should be added to ban same-sex marriage.

The Wyoming legislature did vote last winter to not allow a constitutional amendment to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of the state.

Source: Trib.com, “Wyoming Supreme Court reverses same-sex divorce ruling,” Joan Barron, 7 June 2011

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