A man who is trying to divorce his wife from a long-time lover, but can’t agree on a way to resolve the dispute, may soon have a new partner to help him through the process.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Marriage filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Virginia against the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, alleging the agency failed to properly respond to their requests for an injunction to prevent the husband from separating from the woman and from divorcing her.
The state, which has a history of discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has been sued in federal courts more than 20 times since 2008.
The ACLU claims the agency was negligent in failing to provide adequate notice to the man that his marriage was about to end and that he would be required to attend counseling to “develop his own understanding of the nature of his relationship with his wife and to be able to move forward with this arrangement without any undue hardship.”
The lawsuit asks the judge to require the state to issue a notice of divorce and require him to pay for the costs of counseling, domestic violence support and to file a notice to dismiss.
The Virginia Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
The federal suit was filed on behalf of a man who says he has been married to his partner for more than 30 years.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he is in the process of filing for divorce and has spent more than $6,000 on legal fees.
He says the relationship has been “a love affair” for over 30 years and that his partner has had a “life-changing event.”
The man’s partner, who he calls a “role model” and who he says is “the only person who ever helped me get through this,” filed for divorce in 2010.
The husband says he also believes his relationship has caused him emotional harm.
“She’s made me a burden on my family, my work, my finances,” he said.
The couple has been together for 10 years. “
It’s a nightmare.”
The couple has been together for 10 years.
But the man says he was forced to leave his partner because of a financial dispute.
“They thought we were a couple,” he told the Associated Press.
“And then, suddenly, they’re trying to evict us.”
He said the couple was living together because of health reasons.
The Department of State filed a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, saying it lacked standing to sue because the federal lawsuit had been filed before the state had filed its lawsuit.
A spokesperson for the department said the agency had no comment on a pending federal lawsuit.
Virginia has long had a reputation as a state that allows gay people to marry.
The department has argued in court filings that marriage equality laws are discriminatory and that they violate the U and VA Constitutions.
The agency has also sued to block a proposed ban on same-sex marriage in California and to block the city of Seattle from requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
In a statement on Monday, the ACLU said that the state of Virginia “failed to respond to the ACLU’s repeated and compelling requests for notice to intervene, or for the state and its officials to explain why it is discriminating against the marriage equality supporters in Virginia.”
The ACLU said the state failed to provide any notice to members of the public of the proposed marriage ban in the state or to explain that the marriage ban is a discriminatory ban.
“The state has failed to protect its citizens from the impact of its discriminatory marriage discrimination law and the harms that result from it,” the ACLU statement said.