It's a victorious, albeit confusing court ruling for gay rights advocates.
A three judge panel ruled that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott lacked the standing to appeal a divorce that was granted to a lesbian couple in Austin last year, the Dallas Voice reports.
Attorney General Greg Abbott attempted to block the gay divorce by claiming that the judge who granted the divorce lacked the jurisdiction to do so because Texas has a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the Washington Post reports.
While this ruling does mean that the gay divorce has been upheld, it is important to note that the court dismissed the appeal for "want of jurisdiction," and did not address the constitutional issues related to gay divorce.
The ruling is vastly different from another similar ruling with regards to gay divorce in Texas. In another gay divorce case in Dallas, the court of appeals ruled that gay couples legally married in other states can't get a divorce in Texas. Austin lawyer Jody Scheske, the attorney who handled both cases, says that the differing rulings do not clear up the issue of gay divorce. He said: "It's complicated and to some extent remains unsettled and that's unfortunate. If you have a legal marriage you should have the same equal right to divorce as all other married people have."
The gay divorce was granted to lesbian couple Sabina Daly, 41, of San Antonio, and Angelique Naylor, 39, of Austin on February 10, 2010. While Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott attempted to intervene before the divorce decree was entered, the decree was already announced orally. As a result, the 3rd Texas Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that Greg Abbott attempted to intervene in the case too late.
While these two cases have not really settled the issue, stay tuned for more developments in gay divorce in Texas.
- Travis County Gay Divorce Stands Under Appellate Ruling (The Statesman)
- The Problem of Same Sex Divorce in Texas (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life Blog)
- TX AG Works Against Gay Marriage and Gay Divorce FindLaw's Law & Daily Life Blog)