Friday, June 13, 2008

ABC News: Judge Questions R.I. Gay Divorce Law

ABC News: Judge Questions R.I. Gay Divorce Law

R.I. judge says she can't address gay divorce, suggests lawmakers address constitutional issue
PROVIDENCE, R.I. June 12, 2008 (AP) The Associated Press
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(Steven Senne/AP Photo)A Superior Court judge has refused to hear the divorce case of a lesbian couple, but questioned whether the law that barred the women from ending their marriage unconstitutionally denied them a right enjoyed by heterosexual Rhode Islanders.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court last year ruled that the state's family court could not grant a divorce to Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston, who wed in 2004 in Massachusetts soon after same-sex marriage became legal in that state.

The justices said the state statute that created the family court recognized marriage as between only a man and a woman and the court, therefore, could not divorce a same-sex couple.

Chambers then sought a divorce in Superior Court. Judge Patricia Hurst denied the request on Wednesday, saying her court does not have jurisdiction to handle divorce.

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