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.
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