It can be easy for people to take certain rights for granted. Most heterosexual couples in America rarely have to worry about obtaining a divorce if their marriage disintegrates, for instance. For same-sex couples, however, the questions of marriage and divorce can be much more complicated. Not every state recognizes same-sex marriage, much less same-sex divorce. For that reason, more people are taking up the fight to protect legal equality for same-sex couples in Maryland.

Recently, rock star Melissa Etheridge made her support of gay marriage clear when she sent out a letter in advance of the upcoming referendum that could overturn Maryland’s law legalizing same-sex marriage. She described how unfair it was that two of her dear friends could be denied the same legal protection as other couples merely because they were a same-sex couple. Her letter asked that readers who can vote in November remember that they can prevent that inequity.

She further stated that she supported both gay marriage and gay divorce. Etheridge has firsthand experience on just how hard it can be for same-sex couples to end domestic partnerships when compared with heterosexual counterparts. It reportedly cost the rock star twice as much to end that partnership as it would have an opposite-sex couple. That financial disparity is due to tax pitfalls that can penalize same-sex couples more than their counterparts.

As many Maryland residents know, same-sex divorce can be just as important a legal right as same-sex marriage. Few people go into a marriage expecting it not to work out. That is as true of same-sex couples as those involving a man and woman. When marriages do fail to work out, people should be equally protected under the law. Same-sex spouses who are contemplating dissolving their marriage may gain by ensuring that they properly understand all their legal rights before moving forward with a divorce.

Source: Baltimore Sun, ” Melissa Etheridge joins same-sex marriage campaign in Maryland,” Jill Rosen, Oct. 2, 2012