In the midst of the nation’s ongoing debate about the legality or constitutionality of same-sex marriage, one Texas couple is bringing attention to the opposite side of this heated argument by asking a San Antonio court to decide if two same-sex partners who entered into a valid marriage elsewhere can divorce in the “Lonestar State.” The lesbian couple at the center of the case – who were married in Washington, D.C., in 2010 – now make their home in Texas. After marrying and adopting a child, their relationship soured, leading to the mid-March filing of Bexar County’s first same-sex divorce case. Concurrent with the divorce, the couple are engaged in a dispute concerning the custody and parenting time arrangements for their young child.
Though this isn’t the first same-sex divorce to land in a Texas court, it is the first one to garner the spotlight following a landmark ruling by a federal judge. That ruling, issued in late February of this year by Judge Orlando Garcia shortly after this case was filed, declared that both the Texas state ban on gay marriage, and its refusal to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions where the practice is illegal, are unconstitutional.
Garcia’s ruling could have a huge impact on the way same-sex marriage and divorce is handled around the nation. It remains to be seen whether the ruling will stand or if Texas lawmakers will appeal the verdict. Either way, legal experts, gay or lesbian couples and same-sex marriage advocates around the country will be watching Texas courts closely.
Source: MyFox 29 (San Antonio), “Judge to decide whether San Antonio same-sex couple can divorce,” April 10, 2014.