In a prior post on this blog, the attempts of same sex couples to divorce in Texas, a state where same sex marriage is banned, were discussed. Today, there is an update from this outpost on the frontier of same sex divorce.
As previously noted, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is working hard to uphold the Texas law banning same sex marriage, by preventing same sex divorce. According to the Houston Chronicle, a lesbian couple who were legally married in Massachusetts and later moved to Texas, have agreed to, and received a divorce. On February 10, Travis County state district Judge Scott Jenkins granted the divorce to Sabina Daly, 41, of San Antonio, and Angelique Naylor, 39, of Austin. The one party who did not agree was of course, Texas AG Greg Abbott.
Abbott's attorneys filed papers to intervene against the divorce the following day, in an attempt to block the written decree before it was entered. "A divorce is an ending or a termination of a valid legal marriage," Abbott said Tuesday to Chron News. "In this instance there was no valid legal marriage recognized by the state of Texas. Texas can't have a faulty precedent on the books that validates an illegal law." It is unclear which law Abbott claims is illegal.
Although the AG's filing was a day late, Bob Luther, the Austin attorney representing Sabina Daly, still believes its effect will be to prolong the divorce litigation. "It matters because it leads to a lot of unnecessary expenses on the part of the two parties," Luther said. Daly and Naylor were seeking a divorce decree due to complicated family issues including custody of their son, and the dissolution of the business they owned and operated together. Angelique Naylor says that the divorce is only about settling the family issues in the best interests of their son, not about political ones.
Chron News also reports that this was not the first time the Attorney General's office has sought to halt a same-sex divorce. Abbott intervened last October in a Dallas case where two men were granted a divorce by a judge finding the Texas law banning their marriage was unconstitutional. Attorney Bob Luther said in the Dallas case, the Attorney General intervened in a timely manner, before the divorce was decreed in open court. However, the judge in that case rejected Abbott's arguments and the state has had to appeal to try to overturn the divorce.
- Abbott working to stop gay women's divorce (Houston Chronicle)
- The Problem of Same Sex Divorce in Texas (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Same-Sex Marriage Pros and Cons (FindLaw)
- Developments in Same-Sex Marriage Law (FindLaw)
- Marriage and the Law (provided by Short Law Firm, PC)
- Jurisdiction in Child Custody Determinations (provided by Law Office of Gary L. Schlesinger)