Same Sex Marriage | Read Time 8-10 Minutes.
It’s funny isn’t it. You meet someone you love. Then you grow together, create your own language together and, should you choose it, you fight for the right to a same sex marriage.
Together you march, you rally and you educate people on LGBT equality and, in this case, what being married means to you.
Then one day, quite impossibly, you find yourself signing a piece of paper to say that the marriage needs to end.
And for you, unlike others, you are not just ending your vows: you feel like you might be betraying the cause that you’ve fought for. Betraying those marches, those rallies, and those hours you’ve spent educating people on why LGBT people deserve equality; in life, in marriage and in divorce.
Freedom to express
More than 20 countries in the world have now passed a legislation in support of same sex marriage. In the UK, the first same sex wedding was held back in summer 2014. .
It is a common opinion among those who don’t consider themselves part of the LGBT community to see civil partnership as the go-to option for LGBT people, instead of marriage. A civil partnership differs from marriage, but only in a few ways. A marriage refers to the legal binding of two people, while a civil partnership does not conform to the legislation of a marriage.
And whilst yes, a civil partnership has many benefits and perks to it, marriage is so personal to the individual. It goes beyond the boundaries of being a legal contract. It runs deeper than that, especially for the LGBT community.
It’s sometimes difficult for certain traditionalists to see same sex marriage as anything other than against “moral heterosexual values.” But for the LGBT community, the sanctity of marriage is now a form of freedom; to express, to be considered and to be loved.
“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.”
It is for this reason that a same sex divorce can be so complicated.
You’re not just getting divorced: you’re LGBT and getting divorced.
Why is it so hard to end a same sex marriage?
The difficulty with ending a 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 really getting divorced.
And I think thats why so many LGBT struggle with divorce and it certainly explains why LGBT individuals are reported as suffering 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 particularly difficult issue for same sex divorce can be when there are children involved. Again, LGBT individuals have challenged traditional ideas of “family” in the creation of their own family. The challenging legislation that surrounds gay adoption can often mean that for same sex couples, divorce can be especially complex, because of the biological relationship to the child.
Same sex marriage and divorce are complex because they fall into a category that is both totally traditional, and yet completely nonconformist. To be an LGBT person and to say that you would prefer to get married is complex enough, let alone to 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 legislation was passed back in 2014, the struggle for so many LGBT individuals who looked to find a lawyer for their divorce, was the response. “Family lawyer”, “family divorce lawyer” would frequently be advertised, but firms would shy away from advertising 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 for being known 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 involved. So those individuals who were already feeling alienated, would feel it even more if their story was thrown out of court.
2020 and the future for same sex marriage
The future and its legal representation looks bright.
LGBT individuals who choose to get married, and potentially choose to get divorced, 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 being named in 2020’s top 100 employer list. The most important thing to take away from this is knowing that there are organisations, charities and businesses who will fight for the LGBT community, and will always represent the fight for equality.
We know that at LGBT Lawyers we pride ourselves on our commitment to the LGBT community, and any personal problems that may occur.
Our service is 100% judgement free, honest and dedicated to the LGBT community.
Hungry for more?
Take a look at our infographic “A Brief History of The Legalisation of Same Sex Marriage In The UK.”