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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Texas courts and gay divorce

Before the LGBT community was given full marriage equality rights in every state recently, Texas had a strict ban against gay marriage. Even when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this form of discrimination unconstitutional, the state government held out just a little longer, citing states’ rights over federal power. Yet, when the federal ruling was still on the horizon, the Texas Supreme Court made its own landmark decision in the state’s stance on same-sex marriage — or rather, divorce.

A gay couple married in Massachusetts deciding to move to Texas and spend their lives together. That turned sour, and the couple filed for a divorce. Originally, the local courts granted the divorce, but it was challenged by the state and brought before the Texas Supreme Court. In the 5-3 decision, it was decided the divorce was not valid.

The majority opinion essentially stated that Texas is not bound by the laws of the state that originally granted the marriage in the first place. The laws of Texas prevented same-sex marriage, so they should also prevent a judge from performing a same-sex divorce. But, the state supreme court did allow the marriage to be declared void, basically dissolving the union.

But with the new federal ruling, this case should not be seen as a precedent for future gay divorces. More likely than not, courts across the nation will be required to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples when it comes to the issue of the end of a marriage. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who is seeking a divorce would be wise to contact an experienced family law attorney.

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