Monday, August 4, 2008

Taking Dyke Drama to a Whole New Level

Madonna, ever the trendsetter, tried her hand at lesbian bigamy in 2003.

Laureen Wells-Weiss is one angry lesbian. In 2001, the New Yorker married her long-time partner, Shari Weiss, in Toronto. Five years later, Weiss broke up with Wells-Weiss and promptly took up with another woman, later entering into a civil union with her in Vermont. The problem? She never got around to divorcing Wells-Weiss first.

Now Wells-Weiss is seriously angry, and if there's anyone you don't want to piss off, it's a lesbian. When you piss off a lesbian, especially one you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, you know there's gonna be hell to pay. And now -- pretend the guy who narrates trailers for suspense films is saying this next part -- Laureen Wells-Weiss is ready to collect.

Not only is she still engaged in a legal battle with Weiss in New York over their assets, she has also, as Molly Walsh notes in the Vermont Free Press, "been on a letter-writing campaign to Vermont officials urging them to pursue a case against her estranged spouse on bigamy or perjury charges and to void her civil union." This, as Wells-Weiss openly admits, is largely designed to bolster her case in New York. So far, her letter-writing campaign has been about as successful as, well, something that is ... completely unsuccessful. (Crystal Pepsi comes to mind.)

Her lack of results, she is certain, has to do with her sexuality. As she told Walsh, "I am offended as a gay person and I am appalled as an American that somebody can commit a crime and not be held accountable and the people who are supposed to uphold that law are dismissing it."

However, a state's attorney for the Vermont county in which Weiss was civil unionized, or whatever you want to call it (with terminology like that, can't you just picture Norma Rae serving as the couple's witness?), isn't sure any crime has been committed. He also thinks it's a bunch of hogwash to suggest that Weiss has escaped prosecution because the justice system doesn't take gay marriage seriously. In his words, "I think the rather unique facts and the multistate and international aspects combined with the fact that it appears to be civil, not criminal, makes it not likely to attract the attention of those whose job it is to prosecute criminal matters."

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of any of this. Clearly it's wrong to enter into a civil union when you haven't legally dissolved your previous marriage, but these are untested legal waters and it's disingenuous for Wells-Weiss to cry homophobia when she knowingly entered into a marriage that wasn't legally recognized in the United States. What I keep going back to are the words "multistate and international," which put the magnitude of this kind of dyke drama into perspective.

These women have managed to drag New York, Vermont and Canada into their fucked up relationship. That has to be some kind of record. (It certainly makes me feel better about myself. My screwed up relationships have all stayed local. The courts were never involved, reporters were never contacted. Most importantly, no one has ever written about my failed relationships on their sucky blog.) Whatever the outcome of all this legal wrangling turns out to be, this case ought to serve as a cautionary tale for gay couples everywhere.

The first thing it taught us: Don't be scuzzy. If you got married in one place, even if that union isn't recognized elsewhere, you're married. You're a disgrace to the gay community when you marry one person in Toronto, then take advantage of the fact that American courts don't know how to deal with gay marriage in order to practically marry another person in the United States. The second lesson: If your desire to get married is so incredibly strong that even horror stories like this don't make you reconsider legally binding yourself to your partner in a country that can't figure out how to handle gay unions, at least do the rest of us a favor and keep your own name. Seriously, lesbians, do we have to do everything like our mothers? All that typing Weiss and Wells-Weiss drove me fucking crazy. Especially Wells-Weiss, which sounds like someone with a speech impediment trying to say Rolls-Royce.

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