A same sex-couple was granted a divorce in the Texas Supreme court, which is a bit unusual for a state that says gay couples cannot marry. The court’s ruling was based on the grounds that the state’s consultants did not have suitable information on the situation, and could not prevent the divorce of Angelique Naylor, and Sabina Daly. The two women had been married in Massachusetts back in 2004, therefore that was the reason for saying that Texas was not a participant of the case, which four years ago the courts used that same technicality to block the marriage when Gregg Abbott was attorney general.
On February 17, 2015 a Texas Judge ruled the ban on same-sex marriage was against the Constitution, but he issued a stay of execution on it assuming it would be appealed. The case was initiated because of a battle over an estate, which a woman living in Austin had recently lost her domestic partner, and wanted to have her eight year-long relationship documented as a common law marriage. The woman stated in court that they were married in every sense of the word. The children of the deceased woman have been unsure if they would appeal, and only someone directly involved in the case can try to over turn a judge’s decision, so the state’s attorney general cannot.
There was an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit Court. Attorneys asked for the stay to be lifted and permit marriages of the same-sex in the state of Texas.
The battle on over-turning the ban on gay marriages in Texas started about four years ago by Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss, when they bought a weekend home near the Cedar Creek Lake. Two women joined them in the fight, the women were married in Massachusetts, and Texas refuses to recognize it as a legal marriage. A judge in San Antonio ruled that the present law of same-sex marriages is ‘degrading to the self-respect of the couples for no real reason.’
The Texas ban saying that same-sex couples cannot marry, but can divorce, however, comes just before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on whether or not the ban is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The couple was able to settle their financial and domestic affairs within a couple of days. The judge verbally allotted the divorce on the agreement that all financial matters, and obligations, however are settled between the two women whether they are divorced or not.
There are so many cases being won in favor of same-sex marriage within the state of Texas, but there is one potential ‘weak spot’ for it, and that would be in New Orléans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court seems to favor Republican president named judges. It has recently supported the law that forces doctors who perform abortions to have rights at a local hospital, and this ruling led to the closing of several clinics. Certain imaginative lawyers may be able to use cases in New Orléans that went against gay marriage to win similar arguments in the ‘Lone Star state.’
The arguments by Texas attorney general was that they cannot allow same-sex couples to marry, so the state should not allow the couples to divorce. Abbott told the media that the ruling of the court was a legal mistake, the judge wrongly trusted a technicality to make his decision. Within the year that the ruling of the supreme court came out, which stated that the federal government could not refute marriage benefits to legally married gay couples, however about a dozen judges in the lower courts have followed suit, except of course Texas.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
RawStory: Texas Supreme Court allows same-sex couple to divorce
HuffPost: Texas’ Gay marriage battle heats up as attitudes change
Huffpost: Texas judge ruled state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional
Photo Courtesy of Bart Vis’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License