Same Sex Marriage | Read Time 8-10 Minutes.
It’s funny. You meet someone you love. Then you grow together, create your own language together and, should you choose it, you decide to marry.
Together you march, you rally, and you educate people on LGBT equality and what being married means to you. Then one day, quite impossibly, you find yourself saying that the marriage needs to end.
Unlike others, you are not just ending your vows. You feel like you might be betraying the cause that you fight for. Betraying those marches, those rallies, and those hours spent educating people. Educating people on why LGBT people deserve equality; in life, marriage and divorce.
Freedom to express
More than 20 countries in the world now have legislation in support of same-sex marriage. In the UK, the first same-sex wedding was back in summer 2014.
And whilst a civil partnership has many benefits and perks to it, marriage is equally personal for LGBT people, if not more so. It goes beyond the boundaries of being a legal contract. It runs deeper than that, especially for the LGBT community.
It’s sometimes tricky for certain traditionalists to see same-sex marriage as anything other than against “moral heterosexual values.” However, for the LGBT community, marriage is a form of freedom; to express, to consider and to love. It is for this reason that same-sex divorce is so complicated. It’s not just a divorce. It’s an LGBT divorce.
Why is it so hard to end a same-sex marriage?
The difficulty with ending same-sex marriage lies is in the foundations of how difficult it is to be LGBT. The challenge is the idea of “real.”
You’re gay, so you’re not really getting married.
And because of this, you’re not getting divorced.
And I think that’s why so many LGBT people struggle with divorce. It certainly explains why LGBT individuals suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety when going through a divorce.
“For these reasons, gay divorcees may be particularly prone to self-blame, depression and feelings of isolation.”
Another challenging issue for same-sex divorce is when it comes to children. Again, LGBT individuals challenge traditional ideas of “family” to create their own family. The challenging legislation surrounding gay adoption often means that divorce is incredibly complex for same-sex couples, because of the biological relationship to the child.
“In short, marriage is a fundamental right because the profound mutual love, respect, commitment, and intimacy that define that relationship are essential for human dignity and happiness, and are valuable to society as a whole.”
Same-sex marriage and divorce are complex because they fall into a traditional category yet are completely nonconformist. To be an LGBT person and to say that you prefer to get married is complicated enough, let alone tell people one day that you need that marriage to come to an end.
An article by Meredith Maran in the New York Times commented on her lawyers’ response to her divorce from her wife:
“The laws were in such flux”, he said, “that both gay people who wanted to marry and gay people who wanted to divorce were twisting in the shifting winds.”
Before the passing of the legislation in 2014, the struggle for LGBT individuals was in the correct legal representation. Lawyers advertised “Family lawyer”, “family divorce lawyer”, but shied away from promoting their specific support to the LGBT community.
A specific lawyer for same-sex divorce was almost unheard of. The sad truth about the stigma was that many law firms, whilst happy to accommodate LGBT cases, didn’t want to advertise their gay services out of fear of coming across as a “gay” law firm.
Another bizarre difficulty is that same-sex spouses can seek a divorce through the court using the same process as a heterosexual marriage, but not if there is adultery. An already marginalised group will feel even more ostracised if the grounds for their divorce are not valid in court.
what comes next?
The future and its legal representation look bright. LGBT individuals who choose to marry and potentially choose to divorce now have a wide variety of legal firms and services to openly and honestly support their cases.
The UK now has hundreds of LGBT focused law firms and legal services, with 14 law firms named in 2020’s top 100 employer list. The most important thing to take away from this is knowing that organisations, charities and businesses will fight for the LGBT community and always represent equality.
We know that at LGBT Lawyers, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the LGBT community and any personal problems. Our service is 100% judgement-free, honest and dedicated to the LGBT community.