Lesbian Couple Who Married in N.Y. Become First to Divorce in State

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Friday June 29, 2012

A lesbian couple that married in New York soon after the state passed a law that recognized marriage equality last year is now filing for divorce, the New York Daily News reported.

Dese'Rae Stage, a 29-year-old photographer and Katie Marks, a 29-year-old masseuse, have publically announced their split.

"I do very much feel like the president of the loneliest club in the world," Stage wrote on her blog. "How many gay divorcees do you know? It's a horrible feeling to go through this huge life upheaval without the support of others who know exactly what you're feeling."

The women have been together for about four years and married in Central Park soon after New York legalized same-sex marriage. In January, however, their relationship began to crumble.

Stage told the Atlantic Wire that Marks met another woman online. They soon separated and Stage will file divorce papers on Thursday, the Daily News notes.

"We have no assets, no children. The only thing we have to deal with is $10,000 worth of debt in preparations for a big wedding celebration we planned in Boston over Memorial Day weekend," Stage said.

The Daily News also points out that under New York law a marriage "must be broken down for at least six months before a divorce filing." This means couples that wanted a way out of their relationship soon after the state recognized gay marriage are now able to file for divorce.

"I never thought I would have the ability to get married, so when I chose my forever, I meant forever. In a lot of cases, straight people accept divorce as a possibility. It never entered my vocabulary," Stage said.

Marks told the Atlantic Wire that she doesn't see a difference between gay and straight divorce. Bottom line, per Marks: "They both suck."

Only a handful of states recognize gay marriage but even less recognize gay divorce. Like same-sex marriage there is no federal law that recognizes gay divorce.

In March, City Council members in D.C. approved a bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples to divorce. Then in May, Maryland's highest court ruled that gay couples can also divorce in the state even though it does not recognize marriage equality.

"A valid out-of-state same-sex marriage should be treated by Maryland courts as worthy of divorce, according to the applicable statues, reported cases, and court rules of this state," the court concluded in a 21-page ruling.

Another gay couple that tied the knot in New York last September received a divorce by a private judge in Columbus, Ohio, in March. Like Maryland, Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriage but Judge Donald Cox granted Jonathan Baize and Stephen Wissman a divorce after a short hearing.