On Dec. 16, we shared a post about a controversial Texas divorce case with a nationally notable theme at its center: same-sex marriage. Actually, the case more specifically has to do with same-sex divorce, but in the eyes of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whether same-sex divorce should be valid in the state depends on the state’s laws regarding same-sex marriage.
Texas does not recognize gay marriage, so, believes Abbott, Texas logically should not approve same-sex divorce. The previous post regarding this complex family law case left off with Abbott having challenged a Travis County judge’s ruling to grant a lesbian couple a divorce in February 2010. He argued that she overstepped her authority and violated a Texas law that outlaws same-sex marriage and took his argument to a court of appeals. And last Friday, those judges made a ruling.
Last week, the appeals court disappointed Abbott by ruling that he (the state) had challenged the judge’s divorce ruling out of turn. According to reports, the final ruling had been made, and that meant it was too late for Abbott to intervene.
While the public might be tempted to see the appellate court’s ruling that upheld the same-sex divorce as a sign of a pro-same-sex marriage turn in the state, legal analysts warn people against believing that is the case. The court made its decision based on procedural details and upheld the divorce without having to make any concrete decisions about the current or future legality of same-sex marriage in Texas.
It’s possible that Abbot’s fight against this Texas divorce ruling is not over; he could still decide to take the battle to the Texas Supreme Court. We will post an update should more developments in this case arise.
The Houston Chronicle: “Abbott loses ruling on gay divorce,” Nolan Hicks, 7 Jan. 2011