Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Page 3


Divorce Lawyers Group Backs Same-Sex Marriage


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Nearly two-thirds of the members of a prominent national divorce lawyers group responding to a survey backed same-sex marriage, while more than 80 percent supported equal legal rights for such couples, the group said yesterday.

The Chicago-based American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has about 1,600 members. Lawyers must have been in practice for 10 years and must do most of their work on matrimonial issues to become members.

They must also have state specialization certification, if the state in which they practice offers it. The group has chapters in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

There is a chapter covering six western mountain states, and California has two chapters.

San Rafael lawyer Richard F. Berry, the group’s president, said in a statement:

“Our membership clearly believes that same-sex unions should have the same legal rights and obligations as traditional man/woman unions.”

Asked in the survey if same-sex couples unrelated by blood should be able to marry, 65.9 percent of those responding said yes.

Asked if such couples should be able, by civil union or domestic partnership, to obtain the same legal rights as married couples, 82.4 percent responded affirmatively.

Asked if such couples should “be able to obtain the same legal rights and obligations as married, man/woman couples,” 83 percent said yes, and 92.6 said children of same-sex couples should have the same protections, “such as parenting, custody, support, inheritance, and Social Security,” as children of male-female couples.

The academy said it also wrote this week to all U.S. senators urging them to vote against a proposed constitutional amendment which would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

“The proposed amendment demeans and trivializes our Constitution by encroaching on the appropriate role of each state of the union to decide and determine the law for its citizens and by diminishing liberty, freedom and individual rights,” Barry wrote in the letter.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company