Currently, none of the 50 states requires residency as a prerequisite for a marriage license. In other words, straight people can drive to Las Vegas from anywhere and get married at the Elvis chapel. This is why gay and lesbian couples have flocked to Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and the rest of the states where they can get married — for the weekend of their weddings, that is. But like New York, most states (with the exception of California, Vermont and a handful of others that have special exemptions for same-sex couples who were married there) require that at least one spouse be a resident to file for divorce. While the definition of “residency” differs across jurisdictions, it always means that someone must live there for a substantial period — in New York, for at least one year in most cases — before a divorce complaint can be filed.
So the unhappy couple is stuck unless one of them moves to a state that will a) recognize their marriage; and b) lives there long enough to satisfy the residency requirement. What happens if neither spouse does this and one of them wants to marry someone else? She can’t. Because she’s still married. The irony is overwhelming: Gay people have fought so hard for marriage equality and now, when some of those marriages fail, they need to fight for the right to get divorced.