Monday, July 23, 2007

I now pronounce you wife and wife. You may keep the alimony.

When Ron Garber's ex-wife started living with another woman, he made his alimony payments. When she took the other woman's last name as her own, he continued making the payments. When she entered into a domestic partnership with the other woman, meant to carry the same benefits as marriage, Garber decided that he was probably done with the alimony. After all, California law states that alimony stops when the person receiving the payments gets remarried, so Garber felt that he was in the right.

Except, as it turns out, the difference between domestic partnership and marriage was big enough that he must still make his payments.

This simple fact highlights how different many states view domestic partnership, in comparison to marriage. While marriage confers all sorts of benefits, both financially and legally, domestic partnership is often viewed as being little more than cohabitation. Nevermind that it's the closest to marriage that a same-sex couple can get. They can live together, and call each other partners, but they certainly can't expect any sort of assistance in the realm of legal rights. And, well, for anyone paying alimony, they could find themselves saddled with the costs long after their former spouse has taken a new partner to share their lives with.

We can only hope that, before too long, situations like this one will no longer happen. After all, if same-sex couples can gain a similar benefit to hetero couples, then why should heterosexuals be punished in a way just because they married someone who preferred their own style of plumbing?

We would consider asking some experts on the subject, but neither Jake Gyllenhaal or Heath Ledger could be reached for comment. As for Adam Sandler, he's simply fixated on the idea that it's two women, so he's of less use to us than Keanu Reeves at a Mensa convention.

No comments: