From the Leaf-Chronicle:
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – While many were celebrating Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that now allows same-sex couples to marry in Tennessee, a smaller group was breathing a quiet sigh of relief for what it means for them — the right to divorce a same-sex spouse.
A former Clarksville woman filed what is believed to be the first paperwork in the state seeking a divorce from a same-sex partner. Her Complaint for Divorce was filed in Montgomery County Chancery Court just before the courthouse closed Friday afternoon.
The couple married in Shelbyville, Indiana, on June 4, 2014, but before Friday’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Tennessee, they could not seek a divorce here. To terminate their marriage, one or the other would have had to move to a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and establish residency — a process that usually takes at least six months, said Nashville Attorney Ryan Johnson of Turner Law Offices.
He and Robert J. Turner are representing Taramarie Gulledge, who now lives in Kingston Springs but lived with her wife and their almost 3-year-old daughter in Clarksville until the couple split up in May.
In the complaint, Johnson’s client not only asks for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct but asks for a temporary restraining order to keep her wife, Carol Lyn Wolf-Gulledge, from taking the toddler out of state.
Before the recent ruling, gay couples who married somewhere else but stayed in Tennessee didn’t have the legal remedies they have now — from divorce, to child custody and child support, to name a few.
“You had these people living in limbo,” Johnson said. “Sometimes they moved here and things hit the rocks.”
Now, Tennesseans can file for divorce from a same-sex partner so long as they meet same requirements of anyone else, including six months of residency. It doesn’t matter if they married in California, Massachusetts or Indiana.
“The right to same-sex marriage, will inevitably result in same sex-divorces,” said Clarksville attorney Mark Olson, who is not connected to the case. “Just as same-sex partners in marriage now have a right to be married, they will have the right to have access to the divorce courts. The divorce statutes will simply be interpreted as being gender neutral.”Pardon me, but shouldn't all marriages be gender neutral, favoring neither side on the basis of their sex?