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Catching Up On Blogging--Can You Tell?

Eugene Volokh takes a crack at some questions by David Frum regarding gay marriage, and to my mind skips past one problem:

4) A Massachusetts woman marries another Massachusetts woman. The relationship sours. Without obtaining a divorce, she moves to Texas and marries a man. Has she committed bigamy?

No, because Texas law doesn't recognize the original marriage, so according to Texas law, the woman is unmarried. Again, no public policy of Texas is interfered with by Massachusetts' own decisions.

Certainly. But is she guilty of bigamy in Massachusetts? How about if she and her husband return to Massachusetts? Volokh skips over this a bit, because he's answering questions on how Massachusetts would affect the policy of other states. But it's still an interesting question.

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Comments

yeah, wow... I never considered that. Thanks for the heads-up on potential brownie points for my statutory construction class!
Here's the relevant part of the Mass. statute: "Whoever, having a former husband or wife living, marries another person or continues to cohabit with a second husband or wife in the commonwealth shall be guilty of polygamy..." So... if she moved back with her husband, yes. The simple act of getting married in Texas, though? That depends on the parsing of the sentence: "marries another person... in the commonwealth" would suggest no, and it seems as if any other reading would allow Mass. to prosecute people for violations of Mass. law that occurred in other jurisdictions... so I'm going with no. Well, for now, anyway.
Mike has a good point. It would seem there is no way Massachusetts can make the actions in Texas criminal. Should the Texas newlyweds return to Massachusetts and cohabit, though, the woman would almost certainly be guilty of bigamy. A related question is would Massachusetts courts recognize the Texas marriage for any purposes. I think similar issues came up in the past when a person prohibited under a divorce decree from remarriage would leave a state and remarry elsewhere.
Interesting discussion. Carrying your logic all the way- it seems that Mass has placed itself in a position of not being able to prosecute any external marriage actions that may be illegal within Mass. But, it may work both ways. That is, Mass may have put itself in a position of not recognizing any marriages outside of Mass. Thereby, allowing marriages made outside of Mass not to "counted" when people marry inside of Mass. Any or all states may or may not recognize any Mass marriages. Thereby, a triple, can have their cake and eat it both. Person A could be married to person B in Mass and married to person C in Utah. Irregardless to gender. This may be one of the "other" situations that Santorum alluded to. It may have opened the door to bigamy and polygamy for those people outside of Mass. Intersting situation.
i just found out my husband is married to me and a next woman one in the carribbean and me in houston tx what is my cituation? and what would happen to my husband?

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