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Texas Supreme Court debates allowing same-sex divorce

The Texas Supreme Court has not yet come to a decision about whether to allow same-sex divorce in the state. According to reports, it could take months for the court to reach a decision on the family law matter. The question arose when two same-sex couples sought divorces in Texas after being married in Massachusetts. Texas state policy does not recognize same-sex marriage.

A Supreme Court justice said that allowing same-sex divorce in Texas would further the state's anti-gay marriage policy. He said that it would strike people as odd if the state forced same-sex couples to remain in wedlock. The lawyer for the couples seeking divorce said that the issue is about equality. He believes that laws that give same-sex couples second-class status are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Greg Abbot is against same-sex divorce because he believes it would imply that the marriage was legal in the first place. He says that because Texas does not legally recognize a same-sex couple as being married, the state could not grant them a divorce. In the cases being discussed, one couple was already granted a divorce, and one was denied a divorce. If the Texas Supreme Court rules against same-sex divorce, one couple will remain married and the other will be effectively re-married.

Because same-sex marriage and divorce laws vary from state to state, family legal issues can be complicated for gay couples. A family law attorney may be able to help them find the easiest path to a divorce if divorcing couples wish to avoid a long legal battle with the state. Knowledge of each state's gay marriage and divorce laws may often be of help during a same-sex divorce.

Source: My SA, "Texas court is cautious on allowing gay divorce", Peggy Fikac, November 12, 2013

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