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blog home Marriage Rights | Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog - Part 2

Marriage Rights | Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog - Part 2

Divorce for Gay Couples a Costly and Complicated Process

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on August 14, 2013

Gay couples have faced great challenges over the years trying to legalize gay marriage in their respective states. The Supreme Court’s decision in June to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act provided a watershed moment for many gay couples who hoped to someday be granted the same privileges as straight couples. Although the battle is far from over for those who seek marriage equality, much progress has been made. However, one surprising new issue has cropped up that adds a whole new layer to the marriage equality debate: divorce.

The Problem of Location

Gay marriage was legalized for the first time in Massachusetts in 2004. Since then, 12 more states and the District of Columbia have done the same. The majority of the United States still does not recognize gay marriage. Consequently, gay couples are often forced to travel to other states, outside of where they work and live, to get married.

Since a couple’s divorce is usually granted by the state of which they are residents, gay couples living in states in which gay marriage is not recognized may not be able to get a divorce. They also can’t simply travel to another state to file the divorce since many states require at least a six-month minimum stay in order to qualify for residential status.

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Posted in: Marriage Rights

DOMA Ruling Gives Supporters of Marriage Equality in Illinois Hope

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on July 2, 2013

According to The Chicago Sun-Times, on June 26, the United States Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on a majority vote of 5-4, allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned by the states.

Gay and lesbian rights supporters in Illinois celebrated the decision. Around 500 people gathered in Boystown for a victory rally. Many celebrants waved rainbow flags and businesses donned banners in support of the decision. Speakers took to the stage and expressed their joy and also their frustration with the shortfalls of the ruling. Gay couples are now eligible for the federal benefits they were denied through DOMA; however, the battle for marriage equality has not ended for supporters.

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Sponsors of Illinois Same Sex-Marriage Bill Apologize to Same-Sex Families

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on June 24, 2013

Leading sponsors of the Illinois same-sex marriage bill that failed to be considered for a vote in the past legislative session of the Illinois House of Representatives formally apologized to same-sex families and others who supported the legislation. As reported on June 17, 2013, by huffingtonpost.com, the apology was extended to families who had traveled to Springfield as the session was coming to a close and were anticipating an historic vote. The apology included a pledge to same-sex families that the fight is not over until there is equality for all families in the state. According to the statement, marriage equality will happen.

The statement of apology was signed by 16 lawmakers including the bill’s sponsor, Representative Greg Harris. Harris’ leadership has been under scrutiny ever since the Illinois House of Representatives failed to take up the same-sex marriage bill before the adjournment of the 2013 spring session. Harris had previously promised to call the measure to a vote and then failed to do so. Harris has blamed the lack of a vote on colleagues who wanted additional time to meet with constituents to discuss the issue.

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Illinois Governor Calls on House to Send Him Same Sex-Marriage Bill

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on May 20, 2013

Illinois lawmakers have had plenty of time to make a decision, according to Governor Pat Quinn.  As reported by The Chicago Tribune, the Illinois governor has called on the House to send to his desk legislation establishing marriage equality in the state.

The measure was passed by the Illinois Senate months ago on Valentine’s Day.  Governor Quinn sent the message to the House of Representatives to get moving.  He said passage of the bill would send a message to the entire nation that citizens in Illinois believe in marriage equality.

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Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on May 15, 2013

Lawmakers in Rhode Island have given final approval to a bill making same-sex marriages legal.  As reported by Reuters, the Rhode Island House approved the Senate’s amended same-sex marriage bill on May 2 and the bill was signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, almost immediately after the House vote on Thursday.

Governor Chafee joined Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Rhode Island’s principal gay rights organization in Providence for a victory party.  Chafee said that he was proud of Rhode Islanders who have been fighting on behalf of freedom, tolerance, and equality for decades.

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Marriage Equality Supported by Star of “The Amazing Spider-Man”

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on May 6, 2013

Actor Andrew Garfield, star of last year’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” has told The Times of London that he is in favor of the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Courtesy of The Huffington Post, Garfield told The Times that there can be no argument against equality.  Same-sex couples should have the same rights as anyone else.  How could anyone argue against understanding and compassion?  Garfield is in favor of marriage equality, an important national issue in a Supreme Court debate, as well as an Illinois issue still under consideration in the Illinois legislature.

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Chairman of House Republican Campaign Organization Backs Same-Sex Marriage

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on April 22, 2013

Illinois Marriage Equality BillAs reported in The Chicago Tribune, the first Illinois House Republican among leadership and the second overall, State Representative Ed Sullivan Jr., said Sunday that he is in support of the bill allowing same-sex marriages in the state.

Sullivan told reporters that he believes there is significant momentum leading up to the vote on same-sex marriage.  He said he heard several of his Republican colleagues discuss same-sex marriage, calling passage of the bill the right step to take.  The issue, according to Sullivan, is one of fairness—marriage equality.  He said that he thinks the bill corresponds to his party’s belief in treating all people fairly.  He believes even more of his Republican House colleagues will become supporters of the bill.  There are 47 Republicans serving in the Illinois House.

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U.S. Supreme Court Signals Reluctance to Rule on Marriage Equality

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on April 12, 2013

Nine states currently recognize same-sex marriages, and nationwide polls demonstrate increasing support for marriage equality in the U.S.  Even so, signals from the Supreme Court indicate justices are reluctant to broadly rule on the right to marry for gays and lesbians.

As reported by The Chicago Tribune, some of the nine Supreme Court justices have displayed a reluctance to deal with this still divisive issue.  Although nine states recognize same-sex marriage, 30 states still have constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage.  Potential swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy clearly indicated where he stood on the issue by warning the Court that they were getting into “uncharted waters.”

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Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Push Joined by Obama Issue Group

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on March 27, 2013

The push for gay marriage is being joined by Organizing for Action (OFA) according to an announcement made March 19, 2013.  As reported by The Chicago Tribune, the organization, which is an offshoot of President Obama’s re-election campaign, has decided to become involved in Illinois state issues.

OFA has a broad base along with the skill and technology to network that base.  OFA says what the group hears from Illinois voters are that the same-sex marriage issue really matters to them.  That’s why they are adding their voices to the fight.  That’s what the organization’s national director of issue campaigns, Lindsay Siler, told supporters in an e-mail.

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Illinois GOP Chairman under Fire for Support of Same-Sex Marriages

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on March 21, 2013

Illinois republican chairman Pat Brady has been under recent attack because of his endorsement of the same-sex marriage bill. In a National Organization for Marriage (an organization in opposition of same-sex marriages) campaign, hundreds of form-letter e-mails have been sent to and received by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee. The letters all call for Pat Brady’s ouster as state chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

According to The Chicago Tribune, party leaders met behind closed doors on Saturday, March 9, 2013, to discuss Brady’s fate. According to the report it remains unclear whether committee members will reach a consensus.

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