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Married lesbians
file for divorce in Rhode Island

Married lesbians
file for divorce in Rhode Island

A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts has filed for divorce in Rhode Island, setting up a legal conundrum for judges in a state where the laws are silent on the legality of same-sex marriage.

Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston of Providence were married after the Massachusetts supreme judicial court legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. They filed for divorce in Rhode Island on October 23, citing irreconcilable differences, Chambers's attorney, Louis Pulner, said Wednesday. Ormiston declined to comment.

Rhode Island family court chief judge Jeremiah Jeremiah Jr. has yet to decide whether his court has jurisdiction and said he believes it is the first filing for a same-sex divorce in the state. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for December 5.

Massachusetts became the only state to allow same-sex couples to marry after the state's supreme judicial court ruled it was unconstitutional to bar them from it. Until recently, though, it was up in the air whether out-of-state couples could marry in Massachusetts. In September a Massachusetts judge decided that nothing in Rhode Island law specifically banned same-sex marriage and said Rhode Island couples could legally marry there.

''Now the ultimate question is whether the state will recognize or determine whether it has jurisdiction to handle an out-of-state divorce when we don't have any case law that accepts or rejects same-sex marriage,'' Pulner said.

Rhode Island attorney general Patrick Lynch said it is up to the courts and legislature to decide whether the state recognizes same-sex unions. (AP)

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