Gay Issues

Lesbian Couple Files For Divorce In State That Doesn’t Recognize Gay Marriage

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A lesbian couple is filing for divorce, but their home state of Alabama doesn’t even recognize their marriage.

Shrie Michelle Richmond and Kirsten Allysse Richmond married in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2012.

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Living in Madison County, Ala., they are unable to file for divorce electronically on the state’s Alafile system.

"It accepted all the information I input, but there is a box on it you have to check that designates whether the party is male or female,” Shrie’s attorney, Patrick Hill, told AL.com. “I designated both parties as female — it said the plaintiff and defendant could not be the same gender."

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The couple filed a petition, citing irreconcilable differences, with the Madison County Circuit Clerk to dissolve the marriage, introducing a complicated legal precedent for Alabama.

State law says Alabama "shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued."

Alabama is one of 17 states that don’t recognize gay marriage.

If the couple wanted to divorce in Iowa, they would be required to live there for one year to meet the residency requirement.

"When she first came to me, to ask what options were, she had no idea," Hill said. "She didn't know she could not just go down to the courthouse and file for a divorce, and she had no idea about Iowa's residency requirement.”

Hill says the uncontested divorce will require a divorce decree from a judge.

Sources: AL.com, New Yokr Daily News