Gay Dallas lawyer John McCall Jr. is quoted in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal in an article about how gays from other states who marry in California may have difficulty obtaining divorces. The WSJ ‘s online content requires a subscription, but I found a free copy of the article here.
John McCall Jr., a Dallas lawyer who represents gay and lesbian clients in property and custody disputes, says that thanks to the legal thicket same-sex couples can face, his clients “over and over again tell other couples considering marriage to run in the other direction,” The WSJ reports.
The article goes on to say that some LGBT advocacy groups are advising gay couples who marry in California NOT to file lawsuits seeking recognition of their relationships in their home states, for fear that the cases will set bad legal precedents when the couples are laughed out of court in places like Texas.
I’m not a lawyer, but this strikes me as an interesting issue â€” the question of where and when it would be beneficial to the LGBT civil rights movement to file lawsuits seeking recognition of California marriages. Of course, it’s doubtful some couples will care whether it’s beneficial to the movement; they’ll merely be seeking some tangible personal legal gain. And even if we’re apt to think about the greater good, to what degree should we follow some overarching legal strategy rather than simply fighting discrimination at every turn? The folks at Stonewall didn’t go there to make history that night. Besides, wouldn’t the publicity generated by these lawsuits serve to advance our cause? And after all, who’s really going to turn to their partner and say, “Honey, we better not get married in California, because we won’t be able to get a divorce”?
UPDATE: Here’s a link to a press release from nine pro-LGBT equality groups explaining why they don’t want couples who marry in California to file lawsuits against the federal government or their home states seeking recognition of the marriages.
“If you’re ready and it’s right for you, get married in California,” the press release states. “If you do, claim the name and act like what you are â€” married. But don’t go suing right away. Most lawsuits will likely set us all back. There are other ways to fight which are more likely to win.”
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