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Same-sex divorce filing comes 3 days after marriage

Sun., Aug. 10, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. – A same-sex couple married in Fresno County, Calif., on June 27 – just 10 days after county clerks in California started issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples – has filed for divorce.

The couple, Theresa Ramirez and Adelita Guajardo, are among more than 100 same-sex couples who have applied for a marriage license in the county since June.

Three days after their marriage, Ramirez filed for divorce, court records show. The court petition says there were “irreconcilable differences” between her and Guajardo.

Ramirez said Friday she didn’t want to comment on her divorce.

Norm Fletcher, a veteran Fresno family law attorney, said it’s not uncommon for couples to file for divorce shortly after getting married.

“Sometimes people are together for 10 or 20 years and then get married and there is a different feeling,” Fletcher said. “There is no longer a relationship based on trust, but based on a piece of paper.”

For same-sex couples, he said, there is the added stress of the sudden change in the state’s marriage law.

Same-sex couples, Fletcher said, may have lived in a “siege mentality” prior to the California Supreme Court ruling in May legalizing same-sex marriage.

“In a way, gays and lesbians had a common enemy in the form of the state and society,” Fletcher said. “People who have common enemies tend to stick together.”

But once same-sex marriages were legalized, he said, “it’s no longer you and me against the world – it’s you and me against each other.”

Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar said Friday that 118 same-sex couples have applied for marriage licenses in Fresno County.

Fletcher said “there is a good chance” that Ramirez and Guajardo are the first same-sex couple in Fresno County to file for divorce.

Same-sex couples go through the same legal process as do heterosexual couples when filing for divorce. Fletcher said the process takes at least six months.


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