Texas Really Wants a Gay Dallas Couple to Stay Married, but the Supreme Court Will Decide

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The case of Jeffrey and Henry Buck, the gay Dallas couple who married in Massachusetts in 2006 before filing for divorce in Dallas two years later, proved a couple things. One was that gay married couples, just like straight married couples, can fall out of love and decide it's best to sever their eternal bond. Number two is that the national patchwork of gay marriage laws can lead advocates to contort themselves into surprising positions.

With the Bucks, it was Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who twisted himself into a pretzel of unintentional irony, intervening in their divorce case to argue that, because the Texas constitution explicitly bars the state from recognizing same-sex union, the Bucks would have to stay married.

With that, an appeals court overturned the decision of a Dallas County family court judge to grant the divorce, and the case wound up before the Texas Supreme Court.

See also: Texas Supreme Court to Decide If Gay Dallas Couple Can Divorce

Also included in this morning's oral arguments is a parallel case out of Austin in which a lesbian couple was granted a divorce, which was upheld on appeal. Abbott's office appealed the outcome to the state's high court.

The state's argument is a simple one, which is summed up succinctly in a brief filed over the summer:

The Texas Constitution and Family Code prohibit a Texas court from treating a same-sex couple like a validly married couple, whether in a divorce suit or in any other context. As a result, the only way this Court could provide the relief J.B. seeks is by refusing to enforce Texas law on grounds of unconstitutionality.

See also: Gay Plano Couple Sues to Overturn Texas' Gay Marriage Ban

Never mind this summer's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor v. Ontario, which struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, on which Abbott's office based much of his argument. That ruling applied only to federal benefits and did not impact states' ability to pass their own rules on marriage.

The other side is careful to avoid sweeping pronouncements of equality. In an amicus brief, lawyers for the ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal say Abbott is overstating things when he says that granting the Bucks' divorce would violate the Texas constitution.

The same-sex couples here and in the related case already are legally married under Massachusetts law, and their marriages are recognized under federal law, Windsor. They are seeking to change their marital status from "married" to "divorced." They do not ask Texas to issue them a license uniting them in marriage, nor do they seek to remain married to gain the ongoing benefits the State offers other legally married couples.

If you're interested in a play-by-play, Texas Values live-tweeted the case, declaring that it will be an "easy decision" for the court. Nevertheless, a ruling isn't expected for several months.

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29 comments
txtopnotch
txtopnotch

Let's treat everyone the same.  If heteros get married in another state, then by all means do not allow them to divorce in Texas.

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

OK, gay people can't get divorced.  The cynic in me thinks that if that were the case there would be very few gay marriages

doublecheese
doublecheese

Texas isn't trying to keep them married.  They simply aren't married.  They don't need a divorce.

shawn4848
shawn4848

How about this.....Make one of the 50 states NOT Texas, a gay state...THEN.....the make it MANDATORY that ALL homosexuals move to that state and that state ALONE....America would be such a greater country without all the disgusting homosexuals.....

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The right wing extremists will try any possible way to control the personal lives of the American People.

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

Can't help but think this couple was married for the sole reason to get divorced in order to test Texas's law.  It was a calculated effort.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

They went to massachusetts to get married, they can go there to get unmarried.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

What happens first in Texas: gay marriage or marijuana legalization? They're both inevitable, it's just a matter of the olds dying off.

neonboy45
neonboy45

@shawn4848 your fuckkin kidding right? like my god, you have to be fuckkin kidding me, that someone of the same species as me could actually be so careless, thoughtless, and just down right stupid and ignorant, absolutely amazes me. every single time I see it, it literally amazes me. have you ever wondered what it would be like if things were flipped? if homosexuality was the norm, for reproduction we simply artificially inseminated woman, and went on with all our homo tendencies....and then heteros wanted to get married....its like the fight with atheists and Christians....I swear, pray to every god you can fathom, that should the day come that you are the minority that must deal with whatever the majority supports into law, that we have the common sense and rational to not treat you in the same way that you've treated us. just think about everything you've ever said to someone like what you posted above, now turn it on yourself. at least we the common sense enough to know that orientation doesn't matter. the person does. lastly. don't knock it til you try it, you'd very well probably be surprised.


alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@shawn4848 I'm sure you'd love living in your homosexual paradise, but I support your right to live wherever you want.

ruddski
ruddski

Historically, controlling their health care is a means to that end. Luckily for The People, to pull that off.requires a level of managerial competence our current... leadership is incapable of.

Bobtex
Bobtex

@Rumpunch1 If that is truly what you think, then you need to get your rumpunch checked, 'cause you are drinking some nasty brew.  It has dissolved every iota of sense in your head.

ruddski
ruddski

Whatever the area culture will support. Are gay marriage and weed legal in Mexico?

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

Wow I guess I hit a nerve with you. But is it really that far fetched? I a real clever way to but the Texas law to a test.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @Ardy @everlastingphelps What?  Massachusetts won't let teh gheys move there anymore?!?!

Because, unless they have banned gay residents, they can.  It just takes a while.  (Back in the old days, people would move to Nevada for a few months all the time to get a divorce, if they really wanted one.)

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@ruddski Is anything really illegal in Mexico? You're talking the home of the donkey show and cities that look like Beirut.

I wish I had saved the link, but I was reading a really good article on a conservative website the other day that confirmed what I've suspected for a while now based on polling data, that most voters under 40 support the legalization/decriminalization of marijuana and gay marriage. They're the two social issues younger conservatives and liberals generally agree on. The only holdouts are the fringe religious right and the olds. Once the olds die off, it will change.

To answer my own question though, legalized pot would be my guess on what is legal in Texas before gay marriage. The gay marriage thing doesn't poll well with rural voters and Texas has a shit ton of rural voters. The major cities (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio) vote overwhelmingly Democrat and yet Rick Perry keeps getting elected....behold the power of the rural vote.

ruddski
ruddski

Face it, they're stuck with each other forever.

ruddski
ruddski

I agree, same with hemp.

finnmf89
finnmf89

More like behold the power of gerrymandering. Please try to get one iota of a fact straight.

ruddski
ruddski

legalize it all. Even the Burros.

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