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Texas High Court Approves Lesbian Couple's Divorce

Same-sex marriage is not permitted in Texas. However, the ban didn’t prevent the state Supreme Court from recently allowing a lesbian couple to obtain a divorce. The couple, married in 2004 in a state where gay marriage is legal, spent four years trying to get a definitive answer from the Texas legal system.

The decision was shocking to some observers and expected by others. At the time this blog was written, the U.S. Supreme Court was on the brink of making a ruling that could legalize gay marriage throughout the country.

How do Texans feel about gay marriage?

The Star-Telegram reported a recent poll showing opinions were divided: 44 percent of surveyed state voters were in favor of same-sex marriages, 41 percent disapproved of them and 14 percent weren’t certain. In 2014, a Texas federal judge declared the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, although a change in the law was tabled pending an appeal.

The state high court ruled Texas “is not party” to the same-sex divorce case and shot down an attempt by state officials to block the legal action. The challenge by state authorities claimed a court could not grant a same-sex divorce, since gay marriage is not recognized in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott thinks the women should not have been granted a divorce and believes the court made a poor decision based on a “technicality.” The governor’s sentiments are echoed by the state attorney general, a man in the same position Abbott once held. Abbott favors continuing to have states decide about the legality of gay marriage.

As times and attitudes within society change, so do laws. Divorce attorneys stay on top of the latest developments in family law and inform clients about any changes applicable to their cases. A lawyer also can answer any questions same-sex couples have about their evolving legal rights in Texas.

Source: Reuters, “Texas Supreme Court allows a same-sex couple to divorce,” Jon Herskovitz, Reuters, June 19, 2015

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