Recognizing gay marriages/civil unions - a hypothetical

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Si modo, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    I'd like to get some input on something a friend of mine and I were discussing a while ago.

    First, in the Virginia Constitution, it explicitly states that the Commonwealth will not recognize any gay marriage or gay union of any sort. The exact wording of the amendment is:
    So what if a man is paying spousal support for his ex-wife but since the divorce, the ex-wife has realized that she is a lesbian. So, she is living with her lesbian lover, they have 'had a child together' (the other lesbian was inseminated, for example), she is the stay-at-home 'mom' and the other mother (the biological mother) is the bread winner. Seems like a fairly normal situation for a divorcee, but for the same sex aspect.

    The husband decides to ask the court to discontinue his requirement to pay spousal support. It seems that VA Code says that if the ex spouse enters into a cohabitating relationship (living together for some time, sharing of financial burdens, romantic attraction/affection for each other exist - IOW, they are living together for reasons more than just convenience like roommates would).

    Here is the Virginia Code about that:
    What should the court do? The state constitution says the court can't recognize the other relationship because it's not between a man and a woman, but the code doesn't specify that cohabitants be a man and woman (code specifically says 'person' cohabitating).

    It doesn't seem too obvious what could be done. I find it an interesting problem.
     
  2. R.D.
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    R.D. Gold Member

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    Good reason to keep traditional marriage intact. For the gay side this time :)
     
  3. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    LOL. Yeah, the ex gets the best of both worlds in this case. Nice deal for the lesbian at another's cost.
     
  4. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    I think a court could terminate the support obligation, in spite of the same sex characteristics of the former wife's present living arrangement, depending on several factors.

    The court could do that solely on the basis of changed financial circumstances, without having to rely on the cohabitation aspect of it. Most states have a statute like Virginia, i.e., if a support receiving spouse shacks up, the support can terminate. The way I read the Virginia statute, it doesn't matter what the financial situation is - all it requires is a shackup. For example, support receiving wife could take up with an unemployed loser. They are shacked in poverty - but they are still shacked. Game over. Support paying husband could get his support obligation terminated.

    Changed financial circumstances are an entirely different matter. If, in her new (lesbian) relationship, it turns out that the former wife's lesbian lover is bringing in Big Bucks, that might be enough to get support terminated on the basis of changed financial circumstances. The former wife might no longer have a need for support.

    Interesting issue.
     
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  5. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Could the court terminate the support if the ex wife won the lotto, or had some other 'life changing financial event' to the positive?
     
  6. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    Thanks, George. I think it is interesting, too. We were assuming that the new squeeze of the ex-wife is pulling in about 160K - basic executive service salary.

    I see it the same way you do, but what sparked this is we were looking at the ACLU site and saw that on two occasions, a Virginia judge denied two same sex couples to change both their names to a common name between them. Both judges said no way because that would mean they are presenting themselves as a married couple. But, they just wanted a name change, nothing else. But the first case won on appeal. The appellate court said one can change their name to anything they want. The second case is still in appeal.

    So, I think that's an example of how Virgina judges are so afraid to touch anything gay in court.
     
  7. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    On a side note, Social Security Law defines marriage as between a male and a female and if you intend to collect retirement or disability from your significant others bigger earnings record, you had best come armed with 10 years of documented marriage to them and they must be a card carrying member of the opposite sex.
     
  8. Defiant1
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    Defiant1 Gold Member

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    Good work. I think you have this situation licked.
     
  9. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    That's a good point - how much judging is done on a basis of what's right for a given situation versus what's politically correct?

    The good news is that judges who judge based on politics will soon have their faces covered with sneaker treads from lawyers going over their heads to an appellate court... at least in theory.
     
  10. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Sure could - and probably would.
     

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