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Defense of Marriage Act and it's affect on Texas

Recently, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA has been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Many have questions about what this means for same-sex couples as related to their marriages or sometimes their divorces. Marriage and divorce for same-sex couples have been tricky; currently marriage and divorce are legal in some states -- and in others not allowed. Some states are split on the issue.

Section 3 of DOMA prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriages between gay and lesbian couples. This is true even if the couple's home state recognized their marriage. This applies to federal programs that can have an effect on same-sex couples. Section 3 was struck down because it did not allow "equal protection" to same-sex couples as laid out in the constitution.

When it comes to Texas, most rulings have been in favor of DOMA rather than against it on issues related to same-sex marriage and divorce. Marriage and divorce are issues regulated by the state rather than by the federal government. This means that even though DOMA was struck down as unconstitutional, states can still have rulings that support DOMA. Current Texas legislation mimics what was originally laid out in DOMA, rather than the evolved view that seems to be sweeping other states' legislatures.

What this all means is that although Texas legislation has been somewhat divided on this issue; generally DOMA still stands. Some lower courts have found in favor of same-sex couples marriages and divorces but these are still few and far between. For the most part, Texas legislation supports Section 3 of DOMA. This is not absolute, each case is different as pertaining to the facts and circumstances of gay marriage and divorce.

Source: glaad.org, "Frequently Asked Questions: Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)" Accessed September 22, 2014

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Law Office of Michael D. Tracton, P.C.

12920 Dairy Ashford Road
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Sugar Land, TX 77478

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