Judge Rules Gay Couple Can Divorce in Texas, Says State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Violates U.S. Constitution
Despite a constitutional amendment put in place by voters and the Texas Family Code, which prohibits same-sex marriage or civil unions, Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that a gay couple can divorce in the state and "the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection" according to the Dallas News:
"The men married in Cambridge, Mass., in September 2006 and later returned to Dallas. J.B., citing 'discord or conflict of personalities,' sued in January to dissolve the union in what is believed to be the first such action in Texas. 'My client is ready to get on with his life,' Schulte said. 'We're ready to roll.' If the ruling were to stand, it would be a break from recent decisions elsewhere. An Indiana judge last month denied the divorce of two women married in Canada, concluding it would violate Indiana law. And two years ago, the Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected the divorce of a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts. Neither Indiana nor Rhode Island allow same-sex marriage. In March 2003, a Texas court became the first one outside Vermont to grant the dissolution of a civil union. The judge reversed his decision after a challenge by Abbott, a Republican."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry expressed wingnut angst over the decision.
Said Abbott: "The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today's ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition – despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75 percent of Texas voters."
Said Perry: "Texas voters and lawmakers have repeatedly affirmed the view that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. I believe the ruling is flawed and should be appealed."
Attorney Peter Schulte, who represents the man seeking the divorce, expects the AG to appeal the decision, "but not before his client is granted a divorce decree within the next few weeks," the Dallas Voice reports.
Said Schulte: "That’s what’s significant. It’s the
first time in Texas that a court has acknowledged that there is an
issue with the way our statute and our constitution is drafted when it
comes to same-sex couples. That is huge for the community."