10/2/09-by Melanie Nathan
A judge in Dallas ruled today that the Texas state court has the jurisdiction to hear a divorce action by a gay couple who were married outside Texas. This is an interesting ruling because same-sex marriages are banned in Texas. How could the Court then hear this case?
Generally speaking the law provides that heterosexual couples can divorce in any Court in the USA, regardless of their place of marriage, including marriages from abroad, as long as the parties meet the State and County requirements for domicile before they can use the Courts. For example, in California a divorcing Petitioner must have resided in the State for the preceding six months and in the County for at least three consecutive months.
Dallas District Judge, Tena Callahan said in the ruling that her court “has jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce filed by persons legally married in another jurisdiction and who meet the residency and other prerequisites required to file for divorce in Dallas County, Texas.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately said he would appeal the ruling in the latest battle over gay marriage in the United States. “The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today’s ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition,” Abbott said in a statement. “The Office of the Attorney General will appeal the court’s ruling to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters,” he said.
It is clear to me that any Republican charged State will clearly do anything to ‘lock step-ly’ negate any right a gay or lesbian couple may have, whether inherent or overt. They do not have the ability to separate the legal context and jurisprudence from their emotional homophobic reactionary attacks.
The truth is the Judge has done the right thing and to fight this ruling results in a big anomaly. For as long as one can marry anywhere in the world, one must have the right to divorce anywhere in the world, no matter who one is. This is because it would be unconstitutional to deny this right for (inter alia) a simple reason and that is jurisdiction is the key to divorce. Imagine if you wanted to secure your rights through a divorce, you subject to the jurisdiction requirements as stated above, (such as California and the six month rule,) you would in effect be compelled to change your residence and move to a place that granted divorces (or in this instance allowed gay marriages) for the requisite period of time. That would mean uprooting your entire life, loss of jobs – of course I could go on.
So we can slant this in our favor, my LGBT friends in Texas, if the AG, Abbott fights this he will be doing us a favor, a big favor, because they will be impounding their own Constitution by allowing LGBT organizations, et al, to weigh in on the Constitutionality of the Texas State Constitution‘s ban on Same-sex marriage; whereas if they simply let it this divorce occur unoticed, the Constitution would in all likelihood remain untouched for now. Silly them!
Hey Abbott why not spin this one too? If you hate the idea that these gays are married – let them get a divorce – let them become a stat –why do you care? You should be happy – you can chalk this up to a BAD marriage. Just think Texas, the mileage you could accomplish with just one divorce. Look people they can’t even stay married rah rah rah!
OF COURSE – the Topic is engendered through my personal opinion only… however you are welcome to share it!
Blogged by MELANIE NATHAN, CEO of Private Courts, Inc. Consulting, mediation & private advocacy ; motivated by injustice, I blog about family law/mediation, politics, news and LGBT equality and anything that ‘tickles my fancy.’ Otherwise blogging as O-blog-dee-o-blog-da. Websites and blogs include: http://www.privatecourts.com; http://www.divorcemediators.us; www.oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com. CONTACT:- firstname.lastname@example.org