While many cases have come forth from all U.S. states, the Supreme Court has finally agreed to rule once-and-for-all on gay marriage. It will hear two-and-a-half hour arguments from each side both in favor and opposed to gay marriage. This may help clear up not only the gay marriage question in Texas, but also questions of divorce. In previous blogs we have discussed how Texas' inability to recognize the legality of gay marriage had therefore made it impossible for some same-sex couples to divorce.
This blog has previously discussed and examined the recent petitions by some in favor of gay marriage and divorce in Texas. Most recently, the case of a same-sex couple petitioning for a divorce was struck down by a U.S. District Court judge. There has now been a response from lawyers petitioning the federal court. This petition seeks the legality of same-sex marriage in 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.
Same-sex marriage is an evolving issue across the United States. Just a decade ago, same-sex marriage wasn't recognized in any state. Now, same-sex marriages are recognized in a handful of states, and growing. While couples have flocked to these states to legally wed, once they return to their home states where their marriage isn't recognized, there have been discrepancies that they may not have foreseen. Such is the case for a woman who wants a divorce from her same-sex marriage legalized in Washington in 2010.
As Texas courts continue to struggle with the question of recognizing same-sex marriage, same-sex couples who would like to dissolve their marriages are left in a kind of limbo. As long as Texas doesn't legally recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex, the state's courts cannot grant them a divorce.
Texans who are fighting for same-sex marriage are also fighting for same-sex divorce. This idea may at first seem self-contradictory, but it's true. Many of the most important rights that come with legal recognition of a marriage don't become fully apparent unless or until the couple decides to split up.
It's no secret that the Texas law is in a state of limbo when it comes to same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, a federal court struck down the state's 2005 law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage, but stayed that order pending further deliberation by the federal Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, Texas same-sex couples who want to get married will have to go to another state to do so. Texas residents who are in a legal same-sex marriage but want to get divorced may be stuck waiting for the courts and the state government to figure out what to do next.
The status of same-sex marriage is changing rapidly, with increasing numbers of states legalizing the practice. Texas' own same-sex marriage ban is in limbo after a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. Meanwhile, last year's Supreme Court decision striking down key parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act helped to improve the legal status of married same-sex couples even in states that don't yet legally recognize the practice. Still, the legal status of these couples in many states is anything but clear should they decide to divorce.
A couple of weeks ago this blog noted a dispute over same-sex divorce in another state, in an effort to show the importance of the same-sex marriage debate now under way here in Texas. But Texans don't have to look at how same-sex divorce is playing out in other states: Texas has two important tests of same-sex divorce law going on right now.
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.