Gay Divorce: Why Breaking Up Is So Hard to Do

At least for a while, Shanon Delaney enjoyed the sweet thrill of marriage. On Valentine's Day 2001, the hair stylist, 32, and his partner wed in a civil-union ceremony. Three years later, that formal recognition made their breakup a little easier to bear. They went to family court and made it official again. Delaney kept the cats; his partner kept the car. "I call it my divorce," Delaney says. "That way everyone can understand what I went through."

Of the 954 civil unions performed for Vermont residents, 29 have so far been formally and clearly dissolved in that state. But the...

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