Lesbians denied divorce head to Court of Appeals

Couple try for divorce two years after first petition is rejected

Lesbians denied divorce head to Court of Appeals
08 April 2012

A lesbian couple are petitioning for divorce in the state of Maryland where same-sex marriages are not recognised – two years after their first application was rejected.

Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan were wed in California in 2008 before Proposition 8 was imposed. Two years later, the pair filed for divorce in Maryland in 2010 but had their petition thrown out by judge A. Michael Chapdelaine as the state does not recognise same-sex weddings.

‘The court finds that to recognize the alleged marriage would be contrary to the public policy of Maryland,’ wrote Chapdelaine.

However, a handful of same-sex partners have been granted a divorce by the state before.

This inconsistency in the law has been branded ‘unclear’ by Port, who says that the results of  a same-sex divorce petition ‘depends on which circuit court judge you get.’

Although the split with Cowan is amicable, Port feels the strain of being bound to a woman she wishes to separate with: ‘The big part of this is the emotional implications of being tied to someone you don’t want to be tied to.’

The case has been escalated to the Maryland Court of Appeals, but it is not yet clear when the court will give a ruling.

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