Although one Polish couple was wedded thanks to the “NYC I Do” campaign, allowing them to get married in 2013 when their own country prohibited it, it looks as if it won’t be quite so easy to separate. Although the unhappy couple now wants a divorce, City Hall’s response is, “sorry, can’t help you.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Family Issues, infidelity is the leading cause of divorce, prompting 21.6% of respondents to say that cheating ended their marriage. In the case of Andrzej Gruszczynski and Wiktor Jerzy Twarkowski, the two men simply grew apart and “stopped loving each other,” according to what their attorney told the New York Post. Normally, irreconcilable differences would likely be enough to dissolve a marriage in New York City. The problem is that Gruszczynski and Twarkowski are still Polish residents. Therefore, City Hall said they didn’t meet the NYC residency requirement.
Stunned and distraught, the unhappy couple turned to a Manhattan Supreme Court judge for help. Justice Matthew Cooper ruled in favor of the couple, saying that since New York City took on the responsibility of marrying them, they must also provide them with the opportunity to divorce.
In a statement, Justice Cooper wrote, “Having accepted New York’s invitation to come and exercise their right to marry as a same sex couple, the parties now find that they are being deprived of the equally fundamental right to end the marriage,” he wrote. He went on to say, “Unfortunately, the date of same-sex married couples is no different from that of heterosexual ones: all too often, people who marry in love end up at some later point falling out of love.”
Susan Sommer, a director with Lamda Legal, an LGBT group, applauded Justice Cooper for his ruling, saying that “to give the dignity of marriage its fullest meaning, you have to provide a means for a couple to part ways through divorce.”
Although the couple’s home country did not recognize their marriage, many other countries within the European Union did. And if New York City had not granted their divorce, they would have virtually no avenue to pursue one elsewhere. With his ruling, Justice Cooper set a legal precedent for what he referred to as “basic fairness and simple justice” for all others in their position.