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Wyoming: Judge OK's Lesbian Divorce

Wyoming: Judge OK's Lesbian Divorce


A lesbian couple who married in Canada can legally file for divorce in their home state of Wyoming, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.

Paula Christiansen and Victoria Lee Christiansen wed in Canada in 2008. In 2010 they filed for divorce, but Wyoming District Court judge Keith Kautz said the court did not have the jurisdiction to dissolve their marriage because gay partnerships or marriages are not recognized in the state. However, the Wyoming Supreme Court overruled Kautz's decision, placing same-sex marriages on the same level as common-law marriages. Judge Michael Golden wrote in his decision Monday, however, that this ruling does not imply marriage equality for gay couples.

"Nothing in this opinion should be taken as applying to the recognition of same-sex marriages legally solemnized in a foreign jurisdiction in any context other than divorce," Golden wrote in a footnote, according to the Casper Star Tribune.

Still, Becky Vanderberghe, president of local conservative group WyWatch, said the group would push for a ballot initiative, allowing voters to decide whether marriage equality would be constitutionally banned.

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