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megimoo
08-03-2008, 07:36 PM
Lesbian bigamy battle unfolds

Legal authorities in Vermont have not been willing to pursue the case.

Bigamy prosecutions are rare in Vermont and it's unclear whether the Weiss case would constitute one.

Vermont's bigamy statute refers to a "a person having a husband or wife living who marries another person."

The two women married in Canada, obtained identical tattoos and picked out adjoining burial plots with the expectation that they would be together till death and beyond. Then one of them fell for someone else, and without getting a divorce, entered into a Vermont civil union in Stowe with the new woman.

Now the woman who says she was left behind -- Laureen Wells-Weiss -- is alleging that her estranged spouse committed bigamy and that Vermont authorities are neglecting their duty by declining to press charges. She also contends that authorities would be more aggressive if the complaint were being made by a person in a heterosexual marriage.

"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," said Wells-Weiss, a college English teacher who lives in Binghamton, N.Y.

While she and her spouse wage a legal battle over their assets in New York, Wells-Weiss has 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. She's had no luck, despite contacting numerous offices, including the Vermont Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the state's attorney for Lamoille County, where the civil union was performed.

Joel Page, Lamoille County state's attorney, said he referred Wells-Weiss to the AG's office, the U.S. attorney and local police investigators. Without researching the matter, he couldn't say whether bigamy laws would apply to a married person entering into a civil union, but he expressed doubts.

"It's kind of hard to see how a civil union would be covered by the bigamy law, but I have not done extensive research on this," Page said.

Page disagreed with Wells-Weiss' contention that her complaint wasn't being taken seriously because she is gay.

"I don't get any sense that that's what's going on at all," he said. "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."
How they met

The estranged spouse is Shari Weiss, a resident of Endicott, N.Y., according to court papers filed in New York earlier this year. She declined to comment for this story.

"I'm not interested in giving out information, sorry," Weiss said by telephone before hanging up. Her lawyer did not respond to a message left Thursday.

Laureen Wells-Weiss tells the story of their life together this way: The two women met through a mutual friend in Ithaca, N.Y., in the 1990s and soon decided to share their lives and last names. (Weiss stopped hyphenating after the split from Wells, who continues to use both surnames.)

Same-sex couples cannot legally marry in New York, so the women settled for a private ceremony before family and friends in 2001. Three years later, they decided to seek legal recognition of their union in one of the few places in North America that allowed same-sex marriage at the time -- Toronto. The two women were married there Aug. 13, 2004, public records show.

The relationship seemed solid. Shari worked at a nonprofit. Laureen teaches at the State University of New York at Cortland. The couple purchased a house in Binghamton, N.Y., chose adjoining burial plots and even had matching tattoos done, according to Wells-Weiss. She thought they would be together for life and everyone saw them as married, she said.

"It wasn't just that we considered ourselves married. All of our friends considered us married; our families considered us married."


One break-up, two unions

The breakup came just after Christmas 2006. Weiss announced she wanted out and within days was celebrating New Year's with another woman, Wells-Weiss says. She learned in 2007 that Weiss had entered into a civil union with her new love without first obtaining a divorce.

Stowe public records verify that Shari Weiss and Randi Wilbur entered into a civil union June 23, 2007.

For a valid civil union to be established in Vermont, neither person can be party to another civil union or a marriage, according to Vermont statutes. Wells-Weiss contends that her estranged spouse's actions are illegal and an affront to anyone who worked for gay rights and equal treatment of same-sex couples under the law.

Legal authorities in Vermont have not been willing to pursue the case. Bigamy prosecutions are rare in Vermont and it's unclear whether the Weiss case would constitute one. Vermont's bigamy statute refers to a "a person having a husband or wife living who marries another person."


http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008808030312

lacarnut
08-03-2008, 08:19 PM
Ain't that the shits; let the 2 bitches have a mud wrestling contest. Winner takes all assets, and quit wasting taxpayer money with her lesbo bigamy crap.