From left to right: Julie, Annie and Hillary Goodridge (photo: Harvard University Gazette)
A lesbian couple who fought for the legalization of same-sex unions in Massachusetts has filed for divorce after four years of “marriage.”
The relationship between international “gay” icons Hillary and Julie Goodridge lasted exactly half the duration of average straight marriages that end in divorce.
The lesbian pair shares custody of Annie, 12, according to the Boston Herald.
Hillary’s mother, Ann Kiernan Smith, 82, said she had hoped the duo would have a happy, long-lasting relationship after their triumph over adversity.
“I wish I could talk them into staying together, but I don’t see how. They had a great thing going. I love Julie, and I always will,” she told the Herald. “I guess because Julie and Hillary made headlines, people will pick on it.”
However, a 2006 Boston Globe report revealed that the two lesbians confirmed their separation after only two years and “amicably lived apart.” They filed for divorce Thursday.
A state Supreme Court Judicial Court declared Massachusetts the first state in the U.S. to recognize same-sex “marriage” in 2003 after the Goodridges filed a lawsuit.
The couple wed on May 17, 2004, the first day same-sex unions became legal in Massachusetts.
One person close to Hillary, 52, told the Herald the lesbian reveled in the fame associated with being a ground-breaking “gay” activist. But the source also said Julie, 51, generally kept to herself.
Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a public policy group that fought to repeal the legalization of “gay” unions, said their separation is confusing.
“Divorce is a very painful issue, but I also can’t help but reflect on the pain this couple has caused on the commonwealth and the nation to redefine marriage. And now they’re getting divorced? It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Mineau said.
“Obviously, they don’t hold the institution in very high esteem.”
A similar scenario took place in California after its Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on May 15, 2008.
Theresa Ramirez and Adelita Guajardo of Fresno County, Calif., “married” the following month.
However, they filed for divorce only three days later, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Norm Fletcher, a local lawyer, told Santa Barbara News Press that the couple may have split up because they were no longer fighting for a common cause.
“In a way, gays and lesbians had a common enemy in the form of the state and society. People who have common enemies tend to stick together.” But once they are able to “marry,” he said, “It’s no longer you and me against the world – it’s you and me against each other.”
Boston divorce attorney Gerald Nissenbaum told the Boston Herald that the Goodridge lesbians may have also lost their spark after they won their battle in the courts.
“Whenever there’s a cause that keeps people together, once the cause is over, in my experience, there’s a high rate of dissolution of the relationship,” he said. “It’s sad, but it’s real.”
He added, “And what a surprise: Gay people are like everyone else.”