Texas Supreme Court to Decide If Gay Dallas Couple Can Divorce

Categories: Legal Battles

gaymarriage.jpg
Giovanni Dall'Orto
Jeffrey and Henry Buck were married in Massachusetts on September 22, 2006, some two years after the state recognized same-sex unions. They moved to Texas in 2008 and quickly discovered what heterosexual couples have known for ages about the sanctity of matrimony: Sometimes it just doesn't work out. The Bucks separated in November of that year and Jeffrey Buck (who now prefers Jeffrey Holt Johnson) filed for divorce in Dallas County court in January 2009, citing "discord or conflict of personalities."

There was, however, a very large obstacle to the equitable and lawful dissolution of their marriage: The Texas Attorney General's Office. A solicitor for Greg Abbott intervened in the divorce case, arguing that the Texas Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriages and, as such, couldn't preside over the ending of one. What's more, he invoked the federal Defense of Marriage Act, "which specifically protects the rights of the states to refuse to recognize or give effect to marriages between persons of the same sex ..."

Family District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the prohibitions violated the 14th Amendment's equal-protection clause and wouldn't be countenanced by her court. Abbott's office appealed and won -- a state appeals court reversed Callahan's order and dismissed the divorce case. The story might have ended there, but as it turned out, the question of whether gays legally married in other states can divorce in Texas was about to get another hearing.

The Texas Supreme Court announced Friday that it would take up the issue. This comes some two months after a split U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of DOMA that denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

It remains to be seen how the high state court will interpret the opinion. The federal government can no longer refuse to recognize the marriage certificates of states like Massachusetts. The interesting question will be: Can Texas?


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38 comments
killercat
killercat

This is easy.  Go back to Massachusetts and get your divorce the same way you got married.

Live by the fake residency that you established to "legitimize" your fake marriage.




ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

If I remember correctly, they moved to MA and established residency in order to be able to get married in MA.  Welp, you want your divorce officially granted for whatever reason (spousal support, child support, $$$) then move back establish residency and divorce.  I mean, this has gone on so long, they could have already done this

roo_ster
roo_ster

They need to go back to Mass and straighten out their bent confusion of a union.

Americano
Americano

Gays are looking forward to the day they can get legally married.  I'm looking forward to watching emotional Queens getting divorced.  Gay people only think they want to get married, mostly to annoy Christians.  They haven't thought it through to the part where some twink gets half their stuff.

doublecheese
doublecheese

If Texas doesn't recognize their "marriage", then they are not married.  No need for a divorce.  One of them should just move out.  Easiest divorce ever.  If they want to make it official in Massachusetts, then they need to make it official IN Massachusetts.    


But that's not really what this is about.  Nobody spends this kind of money on lawyers to do something that ought to be free.  This is a "backdoor" attempt to force Texas to recognize gay "marriage". 

ruddski
ruddski

After the centuries-long struggle to wed, gays who choose to just shack up are being denied their partner benefits if they aren't married! Why do gays get screwed so much?

gwensmith1982
gwensmith1982

Oh boy, time to litigate Section 2 of DOMA.

The Congress certainly has the power to permit exceptions to "full faith and credit" but Congress cannot single out a group for invidious discrimination per the 5th Amendment. Nor can the State of Texas refuse to recognize the marriage (notwithstanding DOMA) if it would violate the 14th Amendment.

I would not be surprised if this (or a similar case) goes to the SCOTUS on petition for cert in the 2015 term. It inherently involves federal rights, so there should definitely be jurisdiction. Only question is whether the will to adjudicate exists.

Sebastian Gluzman
Sebastian Gluzman

You don't understand, in the mentality of these stupid people is OK to get divorced, just not ok to get married

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

It is ridiculous that such a simple matter has to be taken to such a high court.  What is the sanctity of marriage the religious right is trying so hard to protect?  Is it the christian definition of marriage, which holds that a woman be subservient to her husband in all things?  I think 2000 years of human maturity has dispelled that as standard even in christian marriages. Is it the whole Adam and Eve thing?  That one woman/one man thing went out as soon as there was a man who found out two was better than one. In any case, we have a secular democracy here, which wisely keeps the church away from the reins of political power and the government away from theology.  A marriage in the US is nothing more than a merger of two entities and the attendant financial and property combinations that comes with that.  It's Larry's Tire Shop merging with Bob's Discount Muffler Shop.  Surely a municipal level court could handle the dissolution of such a partnership?

Christians cannot keep expecting to have it both ways.  Either the church must become the corporation on paper that it is in reality and start paying taxes, or the church needs to mind to matters of faith and get out of government.

ruddski
ruddski

Geez, what a state. Can't get an abortion, can't get gay married or divorced, and if you're the wrong color, you can't get a photo ID.

Marvin Remmers
Marvin Remmers

If they moved to Texas, they're no longer married, so there's no need to get a divorce. Maybe they can get their liberal church to give them a divorce.

Donnie Hebert
Donnie Hebert

Me and my long term partner are getting married in NYC Sept 4

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Could not the family court hear the divorce but apply Massachusetts law?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I think we all know how this will end. 

The asses in Texas just want another chance to prove what asses they are.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Americano I have to wonder what tiny percentage of the 3% of Americans who are gay actually want to get married.  It's probably not that much. 

Anonamouse
Anonamouse

@ruddski It hasn't been a centuries-long struggle, more like a couple of decades-long struggle. Before that, nobody cared and they just lived together as a couple and life went on. Now, it's a constant dog-and-pony show so the little dears can feels special because of all the attention they get.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if they decided to try to divorce in Texas to cause exactly this type of legal challenge - classic lib tactic.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

RT, I don't understand why anyone thinks one religion is better, more authentic, or any other adjective. I don't understand marketing religions to those of other faiths. Most of all, as you eloquently state, I don't understand why any person, church or other religious organization would attempt to impose their religious views on our elected and appointed representatives. Any of these is an act of astounding arrogance and ignorance. Arrogant to believe one's faith is superior to others, and ignorant because these political prosyletizers do not understand separation of church and state, the importance of this contitutional precept, or the fact that our Founding Fathers were for the most part deists, were not biblical literalists, and never would have countenanced the present day religious attacks on our privacy and moral differences. Too many read their own politics into the constitution rather than respecting the well crafted political balances and personal freedoms engrained in this governing document of our nations social contract.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@ruddski But dirty hippie fools like you are allowed to roam free and access the internet.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@primi_timpano I suspect, from some of your other posts, that you practice law, primi.  If you do, you know that choice of law can be pretty complicated.  I haven't fully thought it through, but I think that, even if the couple had written a "marriage contract" that called for application of Massachusetts law to any marital dispute, including whether to divorce, Texas choice of law principles would still spit out Texas as the state whose law would have to apply here.  But I love the thought and wonder if any of the Justices will raise it at the Texas Supreme Court.

ruddski
ruddski

For the same reasin Mass doesn't apply Texas bankruptcy law in Mass

ruddski
ruddski

Somepne's going after the black vote.

Americano
Americano

@doublecheese

You are correct.  But that tiny percentage, and the 40% of liberal straight people that make all the noise, make it sound like there is a vast underground majority of gay people who are yearning to get married.  Most gay people I know (mostly guys) enjoy the freedom of sex without commitment.  That is why the penalty of divorce will bee such a shock.  Wait until the first wealthy gay person gets nailed for "common law" marriage, and has to pay through the nose for the privilege.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Anonamouse @ruddski Right, we wouldn't want to single a group out and deny them their Constitutionally protected right to equal treatment under the law or anything, now would we?

ruddski
ruddski

Substitute ideology for religion, it's pretty much the same thing.

ruddski
ruddski

And for you, that's a constant reminder of your inescapable inferiority.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@ruddski Marital law is a creature of the states; bankruptcy law is federal.  So no, it's not for the same reason Mass doesn't apply Texas bankruptcy law.  There is no "Texas bankruptcy law."

killercat
killercat

@John1073  

Ladies night is a great example.  Why give females anything for free that the business is unwilling to give to males?  

This is a rather explicit case of gender-based discrimination.

John1073
John1073

Why couldn't you have just trotted out the beastiality nonsense? Your examples are probably the most assinine things someone could even come up with, stoned or otherwise.

ruddski
ruddski

True - in time, gender specificity will fall by the wayside and personal freedom of identification will rule the day - a la Chelsea Manning. For instance, uf ladies are getting half-price drinks at the club, then I will self-identify as a babe. As for marriage, it will mean everything, therefore it will mean nothing, so it is, for me, what I say it is, to me. If you don't recognize my tekevision set as ny lawful wife, you're stomping all over my rights, which are paramount.

ruddski
ruddski

Govrrnment will have to be inolved in marriage to assure that all people have equal rights. If a Jewish man seeks to wed a self-identified male who is a Mennonite, in a local mosque, it may have to be a shotgun wedding - and that's where our government comes in.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ruddski Constitutionally speaking, to my understanding, equal treatment under the law is paramount to equality. Ideology, religion, politics all take a second seat to this single, all-important concept.

If a gay marriage isn't legal neither should a straight one be.  Either the government assures equal rights under the law for all marriages or it needs to just get out of the marriage business altogether.

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