New York Won’t Let You Get Married, But It Will Annul Your Out-of-State Civil Union

Even though Texas doesn’t recognize gay marriage, courts will let gay couples who married in other states divorce in Texas. And now in New York, also without a same-sex marriage law, gay couples that secured civil unions in other jurisdictions can head to the Empire State for … annulments.

The case concerns two Schenectady county residents, Audrey Juanita Dickerson and Sonya Denise Thompson, who traveled to Vermont in April 2003 and entered into a civil union. That state was the first in the nation in 2000 to pass civil unions law and just last year passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage. Three years later the couple separated and Dickerson went to Vermont to get the union annulled only to be told she needed to live in the state for a year before she could apply.

Dickerson then asked for an annulment from Schenectady County Supreme Court in 2008. Judge Vincent Reilly Jr. denied her request, noting that the state has no legal framework to recognize a legal relationship between same- sex partners or to dissolve such unions. Dickerson then appealed. On Thursday, the court unanimously ruled that the Schenectady County Supreme court does have the jurisdiction to annul the union.

And it won’t take a Harvard Law grad to see how the ruling could also extend to divorces. And, one hopes, marriages — oh, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.