Can gay couples divorce where their marriages are not honored?

As posted by Hilary Hylton on

"D-I-V-O-R-C-E can be pure "H-E-double L," as Tammy Wynette sang, but what if the government decides to get in the act and puts you in a legal and relationship limbo that promises to last for months, perhaps years. That is what is facing two Texas couples — a pair of men and a pair of women — who fell in love and married in Massachusetts and then fell out of love in Texas.

"Texas appellate courts must now decide a vexing question: can couples who marry in a state that honors the freedom to marry get a divorce in Texas where the state constitution expressly forbids it? In Dallas, the male couple, simply known as J.B. and H.B. to protect their privacy, saw their amicable divorce case stall last October and head to an appeals court when Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott stepped in to call a halt to the process. Now, a lesbian couple in Austin has been put on notice that their divorce is being challenged in a second appellate court.

"The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman," Abbott said when a district court judge ruled in October that the Dallas divorce case could go forward. Abbott said the "ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition — despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75% of Texas voters," and added his office would appeal "to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters."

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