Nebraska Supreme Court debating same-sex divorce

By: Lauren Fabrizi

The Nebraska Supreme Court faces a decision whether to grant a Nebraska same-sex couple a divorce.

In 2009, Bonnie and Margie Nichols were married in Iowa just months after the state legalized same-sex marriage. Since then, Bonnie has filed for divorce in Nebraska because the couple can’t get divorced in Iowa since they aren’t residents. But the problem is that same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state of Nebraska.

Back in August, the case was dismissed by a Lancaster County District judge. The judge said given that the state does not recognize same–sex marriage, a divorce cannot be granted. 

Bonnie’s attorney, Megan Mikolajczyk, appealed.

On Wednesday, Mikolajczyk had a chance to speak before the Nebraska Supreme Court.

“The state of Nebraska is required to recognize that marriage because as I noted, it’s a valid act because you have a license,” she said in an interview afterwards. “It’s a valid proceeding, there was a ceremony. And it’s a valid record because the license was properly filed.”

Mikolajczyk said the U.S. Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause requires Nebraska to recognize the couple’s marriage because it’s valid in another state.

“It means that all of our states have to recognize the actions of all other states,” she said, referring to the clause. “For purposes of continuity, respect. It keeps the country going.”

James Smith of the Attorney General’s Office argued recognizing that marriage would go against what 70 percent of Nebraska voters approved 14 years ago, that marriage is defined between only a man and woman. 

The Nebraska Supreme Court must now reach a decision whether the case will be remanded to district court for a divorce trial.