Welcome back to our discussion on the several lawsuits that are currently pending in Texas state and federal courts on the issue of same-sex marriage.
As we discussed in the last post, the Texas Supreme Court is currently considering whether state courts have jurisdiction over same-sex divorce cases even though same-sex marriage is currently banned in the state. A decision in that case is expected this spring.
However, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is also being challenged in federal court.
In one of these cases challenging the ban, a gay couple who was married in Massachusetts is arguing that the state’s constitutional amendment is causing them to suffer undue hardships that are not experienced by opposite-sex couples.
One of the main hardships the plaintiffs describe has to do with the child they have together. Because of the current ban on same-sex marriage in the state, only one parent was allowed to be listed on the child’s birth certificate.
Other cases, including two that address public benefits for same-sex couples, are also pending in Texas. The state has become a central battleground in the fight over same-sex marriage rights.
“Texas is a big deal,” said the president and founder of a national advocacy group for same-sex marriage. “When Texas judges speak out in support of the freedom to marry, it really sends a message that reverberates around the country.”
Even though 76 percent of Texans voted to approve the same-sex marriage ban in 2005, the executive director of a Texas-based LGBT advocacy group says recent polling data suggests that a majority of Texas voters now support same-sex marriage.
Source: Texas Tribune, “Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Battle in Court,” Edgar Walters Feb. 12, 2014