Recently we discussed how the Defense of Marriage Act has affected Texas legislation and rulings. A recent ruling by a lower Texas court has confirmed the way gay divorce has most recently been perceived and decided in Texas. The same-sex couple requesting a divorce were originally married in New Hampshire in 2010 where the marriage was deemed legal. The couple now lives in Texas and requested a divorce through the Texas courts.
The judge assigned to their case ultimately struck down their couple’s request for a divorce. However, the judge did give much testimony as to his decision. According to the judge, his “hands are tied” due to the restrictions laid out in the Texas Family Code that was voted on in 2005. The Texas Family Code governs how divorce proceedings are handled including everything from child custody to asset division. According to the Texas Family Code, same-sex couple’s marriages are not recognized as a legal union; therefore, a divorce cannot be granted to a marriage that was never recognized to begin with.
The couple and their lawyers were obviously not pleased with the decision of the judge. One lawyer advocating for her client’s divorce argued that there should be a means for the couple to dissolve their union in one way or another. The other lawyer claimed that the decision did not come as a surprise and that they plan to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeals. The state of Texas has recently been a battleground on the issue of gay marriage and with that, gay divorce.
The couple is allowed to appeal their case in the Court of Appeals. This usually is a costly and time consuming process. Divorce cases like this same-sex couple’s are bringing attention to the issue of gay marriage and divorce in the state of Texas.
Source: courthousenews.com, “Texas judge says hands are tied on gay divorce,” David Lee, Sept. 22, 2014