Divorce, lesbian style

The nation's first lesbian civil union dissolves.

Published December 19, 2005 4:46PM (EST)

Proving, in case anyone needed more proof, that same-sex romances bring the same joys and sorrows, agonies and ecstasies, ceremonies and restraining orders that heterosexual ones do, there's news that the first same-sex couple to enter into a civil union, in 2000, are now embroiled in a messy split.

The Associated Press reported last Friday that 35-year-old Carolyn Conrad has asked a Vermont court to end her union with 46-year-old Kathleen Peterson. On Wednesday, Conrad received a restraining order against her former partner after claiming that Peterson made threats against a friend and punched a hole in the wall during an argument.

The couple entered their civil union on July 1, 2000, in Brattleboro, Vt., just minutes after the state's civil union law took effect. They had been together for five years before getting hitched.

Peterson told the AP that "the civil union was a big source of pride for me, and now it's not." A representative of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force told the news service, "There's no proof that our relationships are any better than heterosexual relationships."

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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