Texas Allows Same-Sex Divorce (But Not Same-Sex Marriage)

Photo: Patsy Lynch/REX USA
As the United States Supreme Court moves closer to making its long-awaited ruling on marriage equality, the state of Texas has decided to recognize same-sex divorce.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to grant a divorce to a lesbian couple who had legally married out of state, Reuters reports. The couple, Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, wed in Massachusetts in 2004 and five years later, in 2009, were legally divorced by an Austin judge. But as the Lone Star State has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, then Attorney General (and now Governor) Greg Abbott filed a motion to stop the legal separation, on the grounds that "since same-sex marriage is banned under the state's constitution, same-sex divorces cannot be granted by state courts."

The couple, who had been waiting four years for this decision, were essentially granted victory on a technicality, with the court concluding in a 5–3 ruling that Abbott had simply filed his motion against it too late, and "as a simple matter of fact and record, the state is not party to the case."

Current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has since argued that the decision is "contrary to the State Constitution," and was made "without allowing the State to mount a defense." But Chuck Smith of same-sex marriage advocacy group Equality Texas could not disagree with him more: "The Texas Supreme Court got this case right."
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