Update: Same-Sex Divorce Case Heard in Nebraska Supreme Court

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Nebraska Supreme Court will have to decide what to do with a case over same-sex divorce.

Lawyers representing the Nichols versus Nichole case made their argument in front of Nebraska's panel of seven justices.

The same-sex couple was married in Iowa, but they live in Nebraska. That's why they are looking for a divorce here. Their lawyers believe Nebraska must recognize the legally binding contract, which is the Iowa marriage license, and grant a divorce.

Attorney General Jon Bruning says divorce is not the question because Nebraska doesn't acknowledge same-sex marriage.

"It doesn't really make sense for the State of Nebraska to start granting divorces, when in fact the marriage itself isn't legal here," he said.

His office appeared in the Nebraska Supreme Court to defend Nebraska's constitution.

While the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage, the US Supreme Court has not decided whether or not to require states to recognize same sex marriages.

"Just as I believe same-sex couples should have the right to marry, we should also have the right to divorce," said Liz Neemann.

A case like this one caused an Ohio Supreme Court judge to rule the state has to acknowledge marriages from other states. But, Bruning said that decision won't impact Nebraska's law.

"Different states make different decisions. Other states have legalized marriage. Nebraska has not done that," said Bruning.

"A person who has a driver's license in Oklahoma has a driver's license in Nebraska," said Neeman.

It remains to be seen if the Ohio case will set a precedent for a future Nebraska Supreme Court case. But, Bruning goes back to 2000 when the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman passed in Nebraska.

"Seventy percent of our people went to the polls that November and voted to put that in our constitution," he said.

But Neemann isn't so sure that applies anymore.

"A decision that happened over a decade ago, I think it's a little antiquated in terms of his argument," she said.

10/11 News reached out to the Lincoln attorney who filed the original suit in Nebraska. She responded with a statement saying they haven't seen what Bruning submitted just yet, and their response will be found in their official documents.

You can find those attached to this web story when they are made available to us.


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