PA's Superior Court handed down a decision for two women to legally get divorced

12.29.16 | Terry Diener

Freyda Neyman and Florence Buckley couldn't legally marry in the Keystone State in 2002, but a state Superior Court panel ruled Wednesday that the women can legally get divorced.

The decision, set in an opinion by Senior Judge James J. Fitzgerald III, overturns a Philadelphia County family court judge's finding that she lacked authority to dissolve a civil union the same-sex couple entered into 14 years ago in Vermont.

Fitzgerald noted that his court's ruling is one of the few yet issued to address how Pennsylvania should handle the dissolution of same-sex marriages and civil unions that were entered into out of state before such marriages became legal throughout the U.S. in 2015.

The Superior Court's conclusion is that Pennsylvania courts must regard Vermont civil unions as the "functional equivalent" of marriages sanctioned by the Keystone State. That means Pennsylvania's divorce law applies to them as well.