January 9, 2007

Invalid marriage, valid separation?

A court in New York has upheld a separation agreement between two men whose marriage the court regarded as invalid. This isn't surprising, really, and the headline on the story seems off. It's quite simply a contract.

6 comments:

Too Many Jims said...

But what if a simple contract established a "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals"? Could the court recognize the contract in WI (or other states which have adopted similar language).

Sloanasaurus said...

I read yesterday that China is changing its rules on adoption. One of the changes requires that the adoptive parents be heterosexual and married. Previously, adopted parents could be single.

downtownlad said...

What a moron. If the wealthier partner really wanted to keep the money, he should have just filed suit in Virginia - where contracts between gays are automatically considered invalid (since they are illegal).

dick said...

Which are invalid, the contracts or the gays.

I wonder what the status of the marriage is so far as Massachusetts is concerned. Since the state of New York is considering it a contract rather than an actual divorce, are they still married in Massachusetts and what would be the legal ramifications of that one.

It is situations like this that Bush was trying to avoid when he suggested that the amendment should either be voted up or down and voted in all the states. Once that was done then the states could all be on the same page.

Fitz said...

Securing the position that any two people (or more) are capable of contracting for amicable arrangements that require no such State endorsement nor condemnation.

Bissage said...

[D]owntownlad, I am no expert on the law of Virginia. Still, I think it highly unlikely that "contracts between gays are automatically considered invalid (since they are illegal)."

Va.Code Ann. § 20-45.3 is entitled "Civil unions between persons of same sex" and it provides that:

"A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable."

There are no annotated cases. However, a plain reading suggests the statute in no way prohibits a gay person from selling his or her house to another. Neither does it impose criminal sanction for an attempt to mimic marriage by contract; the term illegal meaning something different from the term unenforceable.

My opinion, for what it's worth. Hope it helps.