Most family attorneys in Pasadena believe a divorce is a divorce is a divorce. After all, it doesn't matter whom you've been married to if you're unhappy and need a way out. But according to a Texas Court of Appeals, gays and lesbians who've been married can't get a divorce in the Lone Star state.
Throwing its 10-gallon hat into the national debate on gay marriage, Texas made headlines recently when a three-justice panel of the Dallas' 5th Court of Appeals ruled that same sex couples can't get divorced in Texas. Siding with the Texas office of the Attorney General, the panel concluded that since the state doesn't recognize gay marriage, then it shouldn't recognize gay divorce. The appeals court ruled that a Dallas district court judge did not have the authority to hear the divorce trial of two men who were married in Massachusetts in 2006. State Attorney General Greg Abbott's office appealed Judge Tena Callahan's ruling on the case when she dismissed the state's attempts to intervene. Callahan got herself in hot water when she further ruled that Texas could not limit marriage to just a man and a woman. The state appeals court, however, pointed out that the gay marriage ban was constitutional. Therefore Callahan had acted outside of her jurisdiction. The case has been sent back to Callahan who must now vacate her order.
Lawyers for the couple that tried to get divorced say the couple is obviously upset by the ruling from the appeals justices but they "respect the process and respect the court." The men, simply known as J.B. and H.B., have no children and are not embroiled in a battle for their joint assets. The men simply want an official divorce. Spokespeople for the couple say the pair is unsure if they are going to pursue an appeal at this time.