First gay marriage, now gay divorce

12:47 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Just a week after wedding bells began ringing for gay couples in Minnesota, it's already time for gay divorce.

"I think we're one of the first, if not the first," says attorney Jason Brown who is representing Dawn Tuckner.

Dawn didn't get married last week. Her story is more complex.

Dawn traveled to Ontario, Canada to marry her wife Rosalyn in 2004. When the marriage fell apart five years later, she couldn't get divorced in Canada because they require you to be a resident for that.

Divorce in Minnesota wasn't an option since their marriage wasn't recognized here in the first place.

"I was stuck. Couldn't move forward," says Tuckner.

Dawn now has a new partner, and imagine their surprise when August 1st came and that Canadian marriage was suddenly recognized in Minnesota.

"I remember rolling over to her and saying honey, you're married. And she said, that's not funny," says Dawn's current partner, Stacy Lapoint.

"It was not a very good feeling to wake up to," adds Tuckner.

Divorce paperwork has been drawn up and a custody battle for Dawn's 7-year-old son is now underway.

While gay divorce should work the same as straight divorce, the custody case could challenge some legal norms.

"The law is such a grey area," says Brown. "How will a system that some believe has biases towards mothers react when there are two mothers involved in that divorce? In that sense, indeed, we are in uncharted territory."

Gay marriage is now legal in Minnesota but for some, gay divorce is just as important.

It means Dawn Tuckner can finally put a failed relationship behind her and move on with her life.

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