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Gay couple who wed in Mass. face divorce obstacle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A same-sex couple who married in Massachusetts are seeking a divorce in Kentucky.

The case has presented a dilemma since Kentucky does not recognize gay marriage.

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Judges and divorce lawyers told The Courier Journal that the case filed in Jefferson Family Court involving Alysha Romero and Rebecca Sue Romero is the first of its kind in the state.

Alysha Romero’s lawyer, Louis Waterman, said the women should be allowed to part ways in Kentucky instead of having to move back to Massachusetts for divorce proceedings.

‘‘I have a career here, a life here, and I think I should have the same right as a heterosexual to divorce here,’’ said Alysha Romero.

But opponents and supporters of gay marriage say the court’s only choice will be to dismiss the petition because Kentucky law bans gay marriage and the recognition of such marriages.

Waterman says he will appeal if the case is dismissed. He said he would take the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court and argue that the state’s marriage amendment should be thrown out because it violates equal protection of law guaranteed by the US Constitution.

Professor Mary Patricia Byrn of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul said states that prohibit same-sex marriage haven’t allowed divorces, but noted in a law journal article that it was a possibility because many states such as Kentucky wrote marriage amendments to prevent same-sex couples from getting ‘‘the benefits of marriage.’’

‘‘Divorce is not a benefit of marriage,’’ she said. ‘‘It is the unfortunate result of a failed marriage.’’

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