While gay and lesbian relationships in the media are becoming increasingly common, we are now faced with another phase of the same sex marriage debate: same sex break-ups. The split between Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Etheridge may shed light on more than just a juicy split. The idea that homosexual couples face the same legal issues as heterosexual couples could shed significant light on the same-sex marriage debate.

Extensive allegations have been made public through blogs and court records. Tammy believes she is entitled to more than the $23,000 she was promised to cover expenses and child support. Melissa has argued that Tammy is reckless and burned one of the children with a cigarette. A messy break-up in headlines may show that heterosexual couples don't have a monopoly when it comes to high-emotions during a split.

The wedding itself was high-profile, included a number of celebrity guests and was featured in tabloid magazines. While the break-up started up amicably, it became clear that dividing assets and custody issues were not going to resolve easily. Now Melissa alleges that Tammy has used the children as pawns in the break-up.

The break-up has been the subject of gossip columns and blogs, but it could also mean more to gay marriage. Since more than half of marriages do end in divorce, it is not surprising that the gay community will also face these challenges. GLBT advocates also believe that the break-up illustrates the complexities of gay and lesbian relationships, as well as the simple fact that some of them just won't survive.

In addition to the personal, emotional, and financial struggles that match heterosexual couple divorce, the break-up also sheds light on the lacking legal protection for couples in same sex unions.

The Daily Beast, "Melissa Etheridge's Hideous Breakup," Tricia Romano, April 17, 2012.