Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Same-sex divorce: equality means legal protection as well

Massachusetts has long been a proponent of same-sex marriage. After several years, the many other states in the country are now slowly adopting a similar stance, especially after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. However, as the rest of the country moves toward equality, a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community recalls how he and his wife took the journey together, then later took different paths and still ended up happy.

The man was married to a woman for twenty years. Now divorced, both of them have become a member of the LGBT community: the man as a transgender woman and his ex-wife as an "out" lesbian. Both people found the transition to be relatively smooth. Despite the identical genders, the Transgender woman relates that gay couples are basically the same as straight couples-which means that gay and transgender couples require the same legal protections.

Like straight couples, gay and transgender couples may at some point in their lives realize that they were not meant to be together and may opt for a same-sex divorce. If that happens, couples will face the same concerns as heterosexual couples, such as property division, child support and child custody and other legal issues that traditional couples encounter in the context of a divorce. He hopes that through innovative thinking from the court, an equitable, fair and readily available divorce can be possible.

Worcester, Massachusetts, residents, just like others across the country, joined in the celebration when DOMA was struck down. However, as new and equal rights have been granted, other concerns may come up. Same-sex couples-despite others seeing their union as unique-will face the same disputes.

Source: Huffington Post, "Same-Sex Divorce: Gays Need Equal Rights Here Too," Danielle Kaufman, July 9, 2013

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