Although divorce laws vary from state to state, all states recognize divorces granted by any other state. Same-sex couples who are unable to obtain a divorce in their current state of residence have the option of relocating to a state that does grant same-sex divorces, fulfilling any residency requirements, and then petitioning a court for divorce. For many, this is simply not an option.
On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving the issue of same-sex divorce. Because state law does not recognize same-sex marriage, it does not currently recognize the ability to divorce same-sex couples that relocate from other states.
The case was argued by the attorney general’s office and an attorney representing two couples who married in Massachusetts and subsequently relocated to Texas. The attorney general’s office argued during the hearing that Texas courts cannot grant a divorce because of prohibitions in both the Texas Family code and the Texas Constitution. Gar marriage was banned in the state in 2005.
The attorney representing the couples argued that the case is about equality, and cited the 14thAmendment of the U.S. Constitution in support of his case.
Another issue in the case is whether the attorney general even has the right to intervene in the case. The same-sex couples argue that the attorney general’s involvement is based on a personal opposition to same-sex marriage.
A ruling on the issue is not expected until spring. It will be interesting to see how the Texas Supreme Court decides the issue, and the impact that decision will have.
Source: Dallas Morning News, “Texas Supreme Court considers whether to allow same-sex divorces,” Terrence Stutz, November 5, 2013.