In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, many new legal rights opened up for same-sex couples here in Texas relatively quickly. However, some things were left somewhat unclear. One is what rights and abilities individuals who were in a same-sex relationship will have regarding the amending of their partner’s death certificate in the wake of the decision. Another, as we discussed in a post last month, is what rights and abilities same-sex couples will have when it comes to birth certificates. It appears things here in Texas are now moving towards there being more clarity when it comes to these two issues.
Last week, in a court case here in Texas, a federal judge ruled in favor of a man whose same-sex partner had died prior to the same-sex marriage decision and who requested that the death certificate of his deceased partner be changed to list him as the surviving spouse (since the two had gotten married in New Mexico).
Then, this week, that same judge put out an order issuing a deadline for the state to come up with proper ways to bring its practices regarding birth and death certificates in line with the recognition of same-sex marriage required under the U.S. Supreme Court decision. That deadline is August 24.
The state has since altered its practices regarding death certificates to ensure that such certificates do recognize same-sex marriage. In regards to birth certificates, the state has said it is working to change its practices, but that it will take time to make the software adjustments needed to make such changes. It has also come up with some proposals with how to handle the issuing of birth certificates to same-sex couples in the long-run.
As this matter illustrates, same-sex couple family law here in Texas is still in an evolving state following the same-sex marriage decision. The state legal system is going through a variety of changes that could have some incredibly big effects of the family law rights and other legal rights of same-sex couples. Given this, same-sex couples who are dealing with family law or other legal matters here in Texas may want to speak with an attorney about how these changes could be affecting their legal situation.