Gay Divorce Rights

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics — posted by Anwyn on February 21, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

New twist: Gay Oregonian sues state over “right” to have his assets divided with former partner upon breakup. Riiight:

The suit by Adams and his former partner, Greg Eddie, is the fourth suit to say that various Oregon laws violate the state constitution because they provide benefits to married couples only. In this case, state law prevents Adams from giving a share of his public pension to Eddie as part of a split of their assets as a divorcing couple would.

In other words, the suit is brought not by a partner who can’t get financial support after a breakup because he’s gay, but by both partners, spearheaded by the partner whose assets are at stake.

Ever watch that South Park episode about Mormons? The refrain of the little narrative song often recurs to my mind about political issues: “Dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-duuumb!!”

In other words, their suit contends that what is considered a penalty for married couples, dividing up even singly-earned assets upon divorce, is now to be considered a “right” and sued for accordingly.

Moreover, support between married couples is intended not as a penalty (even though it can become so among childless, dual-career couples) but as what it’s actually called–support, if one partner has less or qualified earning power because of actions taken jointly as a couple, as Kate has pointed out before. So you tell me by what possible standard a male gay couple with no children could make a case for “support” as a “right.”

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.


  1. Is Oregon a “community property” (all assets are automatically owned equally between spouses) state? I honestly don’t know and I’m too lazy to look it up. Of the few friends I know who have gone through a divorce, division of assets was decided in part by the parties and in part by family court. Sometimes things are split evenly, sometimes not.

    But even if Oregon is a community property state, this situation is really putting the cart before the horse. Oregon doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, so there’s no reason for it to recognize same-sex divorce (or dissolution.) Does it even need to be said? Not being eligible for marriage (or marriage-likeness) might be unfair (I think it is) but you can’t get divorced if you’re not married. Duh? Gotta fix the one thing before you can make claims on the other.

    My advice to the partner with the benefits who so graciously wants to share with his ex would be to cut his former partner a check every month if that’s what the two of them want to do.

    I’m very sympathetic to the cause of some kind of partnership equity for same-sex couples (particularly where there are children involved) but this so-called “strategy” to influence the legal system seems backward to me.

    Comment by Allen — February 21, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

  2. Uh-oh, I sense the Andrew Sullivan freak-out meter is about to jump a notch or two…

    Comment by LagunaDave — February 22, 2007 @ 2:36 am

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