Main | Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Gay Divorce Case For Texas

A gay couple in Dallas may create precedent-setting law with their petition to divorce.
A gay Dallas man who married his husband in 2006 when they lived in Massachusetts has filed what is believed to be Texas’ first same-sex divorce petition. The petition, filed Wednesday, Jan. 21 in Dallas County’s 302nd District Court, sets up a legal fight over whether Texas courts can grant divorces to same-sex couples who’ve married in other states. Texas, which has a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, doesn’t recognize same-sex mariages from other states. In 2003, the state Attorney General’s Office ruled that a same-sex couple from Beaumont couldn’t use a Texas court to dissolve the civil union they obtained in Vermont.

But Dallas attorney Peter Schulte, who’s representing the man who filed the divorce petition, argued that a marriage is not the same as a civil union. Schulte noted that his client can’t obtain a divorce in Massachusetts or elsewhere because all 50 states have a residency requirement for divorce. “We can maybe understand that the state [Texas] doesn’t recognize the right for same-sex couples to marry — fair enough,” Schulte said. “But if other states recognize the right, there has to be a way for those couples to dissolve their relationship under the laws of any state they choose to live in. This is a fundamental rights issue for gay couples in this state. Gay couples should not be restricted on what state they live in.”
Laast year Lambda Legal had warned Texas gay couples not to marry in California because of the inability to divorce.

(Via - Dallas Voice)

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