Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gays can't divorce in Texas after all

A state appeals court in Dallas has rejected a lower court’s decision that two gay men who married in Massachusetts had the right to divorce in Texas.

In October 2009, state District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the men could legally end their marriage and that the state’s prohibition against same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection.

But today, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas reversed that decision and ordered Callahan to dismiss the case.

Same-sex marriages or civil unions are prohibited by a voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution and the Texas Family Code.

The appeals court said today that the trial court had wrongly ruled that those provisions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Additionally, Justice Kerry P. Fitzgerald wrote in the decision: "We hold that Texas district courts do not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a same-sex divorce case." 

You may recall that Attorney General Abbott also waded into rolled into this case.

Abbott said last fall that he was appealing the ruling "to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters."...

(Attorney for the plaintiffs Peter) Schulte wrote in a court filing that the state's arguments were an attempt "to mislead the court in an effort to pursue the attorney general's own political agenda."

Back to the DM News for the OMG (my emphasis):

And in arguments before the three appellate judges, all Republicans, attorneys for the state and the conservative Plano-based Liberty Institute repeated the claim that to recognize same-sex divorce, Texas would have to recognize same-sex marriage.

Plaintiffs are deliberating whether to appeal to the (all-Republican) Texas Supreme Court. How do you think that will go if they do?

Oh, yes: The Liberty Institute. Where have we seen their name in recent developments in Houston lately?

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