Monday, February 09, 2009

Marriage limbo

Trillian grows impatient with the move of legislation in our new state. She suggested the other day that we should go get married in Massachusetts and then try to force the issue in terms of the full faith and credit clause.

But there are problems with her idea, as well as problems with the solutions, that illustrate the bizarre limbo our relationship currently occupies.

Generally, foreign marriages are recognized by the US--usually without any sort of registry or other official domestic document; you just have to be able to produce the foreign marriage certificate. States are not, however (or at least I think), required to recognize foreign marriages that would not be legal in that state. So we can't use our Canadian marriage as the basis of any action in our state.

We can't just run away to Massachusetts, get married there, and then return here, legal case in hand. See, Massachusetts does recognize our Canadian marriage, so we can't perform another marriage there. It would be redundant.

Then there's the fact that such a case can generally be brought only when the couple has experienced some sort of problem that would have been avoided if their legal relationship had been recognized. Most of the time, this coincides with a catastrophe or, at the very least, a particularly stressful time. Things like hospital stays, inheritance rights, survivorship benefits--the very things I hope to avoid for some time to come. Even then, we might not be the ideal test case since we have a number of legal documents that deal with a wide variety of such scenarios.

And so we will remain as we are, married some places, not in others, in need of an elaborate map to keep track of it all.

(This is post 2 for Freedom to Marry Week.)


Lisa b said...

this is so utterly ridiculous It raises my temp so I can only imagine how both of you feel like your heads might blow off.

I hope it is just a matter of time until your marriage is rightly recognized everywhere.

Mouse said...

This gets so circular that my head just spins much of the time.

We take advantage of the government's lack of recognition where we can (e.g., tax credit for adoption which we wouldn't have gotten if Trillian and I were married), but it would be nice to run just the one tax form and not have to calculate to find the best division of deductions. To name only one of the tiny, financial issues.