Carole Ann Kern and Robin Lynn Taney, a lesbian couple who wed in Massachusetts in 2009, filed for divorce recently in Pennsylvania. Berks County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott E. Lash denied the divorce based on the fact that Pennsylvania does not recognize the marriage in the first place. The couple would have filed back in Massachusetts where the same-sex marriage was granted, but there is a one year residency requirement for filing for divorce there. The couple’s only recourse at this point is to have the court declare their marriage void.
The judge’s opinion in this case as reported by Law.com says that Pennsylvania’s law “represents a reasonable protection and a proper and lawful exercise of the police power of the Commonwealth, which is available to preserve the public health, safety, welfare, and morals of its citizens.”
This is not the first time that same-sex divorce has come up. Other couples who were married in Massachusetts have been seeking divorces in their home states for a few years already. Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly were married in Massachusetts in 2004 and recently filed for divorce in Texas. Naylor and Daly have a four year old son. The question of voiding the marriage came up in the Texas court as well, but District Judge Scott Jenkins granted the divorce citing the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.