While gay and lesbian men and women would likely contend there’s still a long way to go, during the last decade, much progress has been made with regard to gay rights. Today, according to the public charity ProCon.org, 17 U.S. states have legalized gay marriage and many more are likely to do so within the next few years. Openly gay individuals hold powerful positions within U.S. corporations, politics and churches.

During 2003, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. was deeply divided over the issue of gay rights. It was during that year that things came to a head when the church decided to elect Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man. The middle aged man had previously been married and fathered two children. His marriage, however, ended in a divorce when, in 1986, he came out and announced he was gay.

After his divorce, Robinson met and fell in love with a man and in 2008 the two were joined in a civil union. Their civil union was legally classified as a marriage when, in 2011, the state in which the union took place legally ratified gay marriage. Sadly, like nearly 50 percent of all U.S. marriages, the former bishop recently announced that he and his partner and husband of more than 20 years plan to divorce.

While the two have no children together, many same-sex married couples choose to either adopt or have children on their own. Child custody matters are just one of the many complex issues that must be sorted out when a same-sex couple divorces. When seeking a divorce attorney, gay and lesbian individuals would be wise to inquire as to whether an attorney has experience handling same-sex divorces.

Source: The New York Times, ” First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop, Whose Election Caused a Stir, to Divorce,” Michael Paulson, May 4, 2014