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Bayside native to dissolve marriage in protest

Matthew D’Olimpio is seeking to annul his marriage, not because of the relationship he has with his wife, but because of the tight relationship he has with his gay brother.

“My wife and I decided we should do something and take a stand” to protest the state’s failure to pass the gay marriage bill, the Bayside native said.

He is still seeking a pro bono lawyer to represent him and his wife in Family Court.

“It’s unconstitutionally discriminative,” D’Olimpio said, referring to the state’s marriage laws.

It is on those grounds that D’Olimpio, who now lives in Brooklyn, and his wife of two years, Rachel Murch D’Olimpio, are going ahead with their plans to annul their marriage.

Unlike a divorce, an annulment invalidates a marriage as never having occurred. Grounds for an annulment are misrepresentation or fraud, concealment, refusal or inability to consummate the marriage or a misunderstanding.

“All relationships based on love and respect deserve recognition,” D’Olimpio said. “Marriage is nothing more than a legal contract.”

D’Olimpio and his wife contend the legal contract of marriage is void because such contracts cannot be entered into by gay couples.

His brother Christopher said he will be supporting his brother in his quest for the annulment.

“It makes me feel very happy and proud of my brother,” said Christopher D’Olimpio. “It was great that he had this idea.”

D’Olimpio and his wife have created a Facebook group where other straight couples who hold the same beliefs can join in solidarity. The group is called Annul Our Marriage for Equality.

Christopher said he did not know of his brother’s plans until he noticed the Facebook group.

The state Senate voted38-24 last week against same-sex marriage.

“We were all disappointed when we heard the vote,” Christopher D’Olimpio said, noting he has considered leaving the state several times over its stance on gay marriage.

As Matthew D’Olimpio takes his case to the courts, his brother Christopher said he will be right there beside him in support.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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