INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) - Same sex marriage is illegal in Indiana but what about same sex divorce?
Donald Schultz Lee wants a divorce from Justin Schultz Lee, so he filed a divorce petition at the Marion County Clerk's office.
While he was married in Massachusetts, he doesn't meet the residency requirement for a divorce in that state. Clerk Beth White had no choice but to accept the divorce petition.
"Of course the Supreme Court decision last week is going to create some situations I think all around the state of Indiana," said White, "that many of us are not used to handling."
Kathy Harmon is the attorney for Donald Schultz Lee and she is already preparing for a legal battle. Because same sex marriage is prohibited in Indiana, so is same sex divorce according to a 2009 ruling in a case involving two women from South Bend.
"If we're successful, my client gets a divorce," says Harmon, "which is what he's seeking. If that makes new law, then that makes new law."
Schultz Lee, speaking over the phone, says he has no desire to be a pioneer. "Unfortunately my marriage didn't work out," he said. "That happens, and I'm just proceeding with my life the way anyone would."
Local family law attorney Melissa Avery can foresee a day when Indiana bans same sex marriage yet allows same sex divorce. "Our federal government is certainly heading in a different direction," she said, "and that may lead eventually to mandating that the states head in a different direction also."
In the meantime, Donald Schultz Lee can't get a divorce unless laws are changed either here or in Massachusetts.
The case has been assigned to Judge David Shaheed who has not yet ruled on it. Kathy Harmon expects that he will reject the divorce petition. She is already prepared to take the case to the state Court of Appeals.
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