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How to Split a Toaster episode 612: Steven Petrow

Marriage Equality and Divorce Equality with Author Steven Petrow

Divorce for Same Sex Couples Is the Same as Any Other Divorce, Right?

Marriage equality becoming the law of the land in 2015 ushered in a new era of rights finally uniting couples of the same sex behind the same set of protections as opposite sex couples. But with those rights to unite, came the equivalent rights to divorce. As our guest this week illuminates, the law is what it is, but there is also a cultural adaptation to gay divorce. Should an LGBTQ+ couple feel like they’re failing all that work to win the right to marry if they divorce? And why are words so important, not just in the courtroom but also in social situations… even on this very podcast?

Steven Petrow – award-winning journalist and best-selling author perhaps best-known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on LGBTQ life, health, and civility – joins Seth and Pete to talk about the challenges in the world of divorce of same sex couples. As Petrow says, “same institution, same benefits, same penalties.” But that doesn’t deal with the cultural change that come along with it. It’s amazing how impactful the words involved in marriage become and the weight they carry.

The same is true for divorce.

Making this conversation even more complicated, we’re also looking at the future of marriage equality with the current Supreme Court. How could this court not only change marriage of same sex couples but also divorce if the Court indicates same sex couples are suddenly no longer “married?”

It’s an important subject to cover on the show because the law may be the law, but it’s working through cultural stereotypes to find equality in all aspects that are as much a part of it as they are in the marriage itself.

About Steven

Steven Petrow is an award-winning journalist and best-selling book author who is best known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on LGBTQ life, health, and civility. He’s also an opinion columnist for USA Today, where he writes about civil discourse and manners. Steven’s 2019 TED Talk, “3 Ways to Practice Civility” has been viewed nearly two million times and translated into 16 languages. He regularly appears on NPR and other media outlets. His two most recent books are Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay and Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBTQ Life and Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old, which was published last June and was named as a New York Times favorite in 2021. His next book, Joy to You and Me will be published by Penguin Random House. Steven is a past president of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and lives in Hillsborough, NC.

Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.