Monday, September 21, 2009

Indiana court denies divorce petition for same-sex couple

A Marion County court recently denied a divorce for a Hoosier couple because of the state's ban on same-sex marriages, creating an unresolved issue that could cause trouble if either decides to enter into a new marriage ... Marion Superior Court Commissioner Jeffrey Marchal expressed sympathy for the couple's practical concerns, but the order issued Sept. 4 said state lawmakers had not given the courts authority to dissolve same-sex marriages in Indiana's divorce laws. "As the state of Indiana has chosen to prohibit same-sex marriage as a matter of public policy, it might logically follow that Indiana would have a policy interest in granting same-sex divorce," says the order, signed by Marchal and Judge Heather Welch, who presides over that courtroom ... Marchal said his hand was tied by the law, but he did include a declaration in the order that their marriage is "null and void" in the hope they can show it to officials in another state if the need arises.
Attorney Karen Jensen, who represents a spouse in the case, says that no decision has been made to appeal the ruling. Because Jensen will close her practice next month, another attorney will have to represent Tara Ranzy if Ranzy seeks an appeal.

The case is In re Marriage of Tara Ranzy and Larissa Chism, No. 49D12-0903-DR-014654 (Ind. Marion County Super. Ct.). I expect to post the September 4th ruling when I receive it from the Court.

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