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Pennsylvania Judge Denies Lesbian Couple Divorce

Pennsylvania Judge Denies Lesbian Couple Divorce

A Pennsylvania judge has refused to divorce two women married last year in Massachusetts because they do not meet the residency required to divorce. Carole Kern and Robin Taney married in Massachusetts because same-sex marriage is not legal in their home state of Pennsylvania. When the couple decided to divorce, they found that Massachusetts had a residency requirement. The couple had only been married four months.

A Pennsylvania judge has refused to divorce two women married last year in Massachusetts because they do not meet the residency required to divorce.

The Advocate reports the lesbian couple, who were married in Massachusetts in 2009, will not be allowed to get a divorce in Pennsylvania.

Carole Kern and Robin Taney married in Massachusetts because same-sex marriage is not legal in their home state of Pennsylvania. When the couple decided to divorce, they found that Massachusetts has no residency requirement to marry, but requires couples seeking to divorce to have lived there for a year, a requirement they did not meet.

Kern had filed a petition in October seeking to divorce Taney on grounds their marriage was irretrievably broken. The couple had only been married four months.

The Boston Herald reports the two filed for divorce in Pennsylvania and a judge refused to divorce the couple stating, "Relief under the divorce code can only be obtained by parties who are recognized to be married," Berks County Judge Scott Lash wrote in a ruling issued Thursday.

Pennsylvania's Marriage Law includes a section that states that same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are void in the commonwealth. Kern, in her petition, called the language "discriminatory against homosexuals and patently unfair" and noted how the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 struck down long-standing state prohibitions on interracial marriage.

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