California Couple Files for First Same-Sex Divorce

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It happened sooner.

Theresa Ramirez and Adelita Guajardo, a gay couple who were married in Fresno County on June 27, 2008, have filed for divorce. Ramirez and Guajardo filed for divorce on June 30, just three days after being married, and appear to be the state’s first same-sex couple to file for divorce under California’s recently expanded marriage laws. The story appears in theSacramento Bee.

On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, holding that marriage is a fundamental right under the California Constitution [In re Marriage Cases]. The Court ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting June 16, 2008. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, and I recognize that feelings run deeply on both sides, same-sex marriage is now a fundamental right in the State of California. Within the state, same-sex couples are now afforded the same rights and opportunities as heterosexual couples. Likewise, they are also burdened with the same obligations.

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Opponents of the Supreme Court’s decision have qualified “Proposition 8” for the November 2008 ballot. Proposition 8 is an attempt to amend the California Constitution to specifically exclude the right of same-sex couples to marry, thereby effectively circumventing the Supreme Court’s decision. Proponents of Proposition 8 argue that the ballot measure is about “preserving marriage” and reversing the decision of “activist judges,” and that it is not an attack on the gay lifestyle. Those opposed to the measure respond that government shouldn’t be in the business of deciding who can and who can’t be married, and that the issue is really about “equality, freedom and fairness, for all.” More information is available from theCalifornia Secretary of State.

Ultimately, voters in the State of California will make the decision on whether they feel a ban on same-sex marriage rises to the level of a Constitutional amendment.

For more information about same-sex marriage and divorce, or other California family law issues, please contact attorney Gary D. Sparks.