Texas High Court to Consider Same-Sex Divorce

The Supreme Court of Texas recently ruled that it will determine if legally married same-sex couples can be given a divorce in the Lone Star State. The first cases will involve couples from Dallas and Austin. They represent the first challenge to the Texas ban on same-sex marriage after the United States Supreme Court handed down the decision stating marriage laws can be unconstitutional as they relegate legally married same sex couples as second class citizens. Arguments are expected to being in early November but a decision is not anticipated until several months later.

The Texas attorney general claims the law limits marriage to heterosexual couples, but prohibits any legal action including divorce that would represent a recognition or validation of a same sex marriage from another state.

The two cases involved same sex couples, who were married in the state of Massachusetts. Legal advisors for both cases claim divorce is a personal matter and therefore the state of Texas does not have the authority to interfere. Since the unions took place outside of Texas, the state is obligated to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of the state. The clients claim that if their right to divorce is denied, the ban on same sex marriage should be removed.

This year the Supreme Court delivered a split decision on part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act partially because the law did not provide equal treatment to same-sex couples. Due to that ruling, Texas law directed to same sex couples purports to treat them unequally since it interprets their union as second class classification. Legal advisors for one of the couples filed a brief stating this was unconstitutional.

The attorney general disagrees, claiming each state should recognize its own right to interpret the law. His decision rests on the fact that the state of Texas has the same rights as any other state and the people have spoken. In the Lone Star State, only one type of union is acceptable as a marriage — that between a man and a woman.

If you are going through a divorce, there are advosors in Texas divorce law who will have your best interests at heart.

statesman.com, “Texas Supreme Court takes same-sex divorce cases” Chuck Lindell, Aug. 23, 2013

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