Texas Supreme Court Hears Argument in Same-Sex Divorce Case

November 6th, 2013

Can a Texas state court judge grant a divorce to a couple who married in Massachusetts, even though the Texas Constitution bans the “recognition” of gay marriage? The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in this issue yesterday.

The Chronicle has some highlights of the argument

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is now running for governor, intervened in the cases, which were consolidated for court consideration. Abbott’s office argues that gay couples can’t be divorced in Texas because the state bans gay marriage.

“There is no way to grant a divorce without recognizing a marriage,” James D. Blacklock, deputy attorney general for legal counsel, argued before the court Tuesday.

The lawyer for the couples, James J. Scheske of Austin, said his clients were legally married elsewhere and have a right to divorce in the state in which they live.

“Marriage and divorce are opposites of each other,” he said.

The attorney general’s office said that gay couples would have the alternative of voiding their marriages in Texas. Justices, however, raised questions about the confusion that could cause since it’s a different legal standard from divorce.

Stay tuned. This could be an interesting middle-of-the-road question for the Court to grant cert on.