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Lesbian Marriage
Recognized in New Jersey for Divorce

Lesbian Marriage
Recognized in New Jersey for Divorce

Gay couples who were married elsewhere can be legally divorced in New Jersey, a Garden State judge ruled on Friday.

Gay couples who were married elsewhere can be legally divorced in New Jersey, a Garden State judge ruled on Friday. La Kia Hammond, who now lives in Trenton, N.J., and Kinyati Hammond, now of Delaware, married in March 2004 in Victoria, British Columbia, according to the Associated Press.

Superior court judge Mary Jacobson ruled that the state must accommodate those who were married and seek divorce in outside jurisdictions, as long as they're legally wed.

"While the day a relationship ends is never happy," La Kia Hammond said in an American Civil Liberties Union press release, "I am relieved that the courts of New Jersey are allowing us to move on, rather than keeping our relationship status in legal limbo. Breaking up is painful enough, and I'm happy we won't have to face the hardship of having to fight just to make it official."

Those married in Canada can only request a divorce if they are residents of the country.

Currently, New Jersey grants civil unions to gay and lesbian couples, but does not allow full marriage equality. According to the ACLU of New Jersey, who co-represented La Kia Hammond, the state attorney general argued the couple should have been granted a dissolution of civil union, and not a divorce.

The couple lived together in North East, Md., after they were wed, but La Kia left Kinyati about three years ago. La Kia Hammond officially filed for divorce because she wants to marry another woman before she dies of muscular dystrophy, which La Kia was diagnosed with in 2005.

Kinyati Hammond has not responded to the divorce filings. (Michelle Garcia, Advocate.com)

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