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You can’t get gay married in Texas, but you can get gay divorced

At least, according to a Dallas judge’s ruling, you can.

Although the case is far from settled, and the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is a long way from being thrown out, Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling says the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had intervened in the two men’s divorce case, arguing that because a gay marriage isn’t recognized in Texas, a Texas court can’t dissolve one through divorce.

Callahan, a Democrat, denied the attorney general’s intervention and said her court “has jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce filed by persons legally married in another jurisdiction.”

“This is huge news. We’re ecstatic,” said Dallas attorney Peter Schulte, who represents the man who filed the divorce. The man, identified in court documents as J.B., asked that he and his former partner not be identified.

Schulte said that the ruling was a surprise and that he hoped to have a divorce order for the judge to sign in the “next few weeks.”

In a prepared statement, Abbott said he would appeal the ruling “to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters.”


An Indiana judge last month denied the divorce of two women married in Canada, concluding it would violate Indiana law. And two years ago, the Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected the divorce of a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts. Neither Indiana nor Rhode Island allow same-sex marriage.

In March 2003, a Texas court became the first one outside Vermont to grant the dissolution of a civil union. The judge reversed his decision after a challenge by Abbott, a Republican.

The men had been married in Massachusetts. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but I have a hard time believing this ruling will stand up on appeal. I hope I’m wrong about that. Any lawyers out there have an opinion about the judge’s ruling? Leave a comment and let us know. Thanks.

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  1. RBearSAT says:

    Charles I agree with you on this one. I commented at BOR on it with the same caveat as you – no legal expert here. It just seems that getting married in MA knowing the contract is void in TX anyway and then asking TX to void the contract doesn’t provide enough foundation to nullify TX’s constitutional amendment.

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  3. Norm says:

    The situation WILL be, the Texas and/or the U.S. constitution, and how each will prevail, or whatever?????? THEIR right to be heard in Court, is what was ruled on, and help us all, if we are denied the “EQUAL” right to have a hearing, ANYWHERE!!!!!!!!

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  6. […] read the whole complicated story. We’ve discussed gay divorce, and we’ve discussed transgender marriage, both of which come with a […]