A married couple in Brooklyn seeking support for gay marriage is putting their own on the line.
Rachel Murch D’Olimpio and Matthew D’Olimpio, in an attempt to question the legitimacy of current marriage laws in New York, which remain opposed to same-sex marriages, are applying to have their marriage annulled. The couple, both 29, has launched a Facebook group called “Annul Our Marriage in the Name of Equality.”
The D’Olimpios are looking for other New Yorkers who are willing to try and get their own marriages annulled. The group already has more than 1,000 members.
On the group page, the pair explains their reasoning for the annulment movement as follows:
Like any other person in the United States, Gays deserve all the same rights before the law as straight people do, the same way African-Americans deserve the same rights as Caucasians, or women the same rights as men. It makes no sense to us to deny a group of people such a fundamental right, especially one that is so private by nature and has absolutely no effect on anyone else.
As opposed to a divorce which breaks a marriage contract, an annulment indicates that a marriage was never valid and basically didn’t happen (read more about the differences here). The D’Olimipios also have a young child.
What are the chances the D’Olimpios and their supporters will be successful in the claims?
Emily Ruby-Sachs of 365gay.com writes:
Legally, their approach has some promise. Contracts freely entered into can be deemed void if they contravene public policy. There is an argument — one that has been successful in Iowa and California — that giving marriage rights to straight couples and not same-sex couples violates the right to equal protection of the laws. This is not new reasoning. However, usually the courts require the applying individual to prove that they are, in some way, being denied equal protection of the laws of the state. Rachel and Matthew are fully protected. It’s their friends and fellow New York residents who are being denied their rights.
Matthew D’Olimpio spoke with the ThePhoenix.com about the reality of accomplishing their goal. Mr. D’Olimpio explained:
Essentially, we would have to file a request to annul our marriage at the City Clerk’s office, which would almost certainly be rejected outright and immediately. We would then need to challenge the denial in the appropriate court of jurisdiction (which is where our ignorance takes over, and we would begin relying on legal counsel), and should they reject it, continue the appeals process all the way up as high as they’ll let us go. We intend to appeal our rejection on the grounds that our marriage is knowingly and actively unconstitutionally discriminatory, and therefore can’t be a valid contract.
No matter how far the D’Onlimpios get in their campaign, they’ve certainly garnered plenty of attention and are likely to gain more support.
In relation, there’s a man in California looking to have divorce become illegal in his state — also in an effort to point out what some consider the absurd refusal to legally allow same-sex marriages.