A same sex couple in Texas seeking to end their marriage is facing the
same issue that many married couples across America are grappling with.
Their request was denied. The courts all use the same argument: how can
a marriage that was not recognized to begin with be legally ended?
Same Sex Couple Seeks to End Marriage
The Texas couple was married in New Hampshire in 2010 and is now seeking
to end the marriage. Since Texas does not legally recognize same sex marriage,
couples that traveled to other states in order to become married are facing
a hurdle when those marriages do not work out. In order for a couple to
be legally divorced, their union must be recognized as legally valid.
One woman tried to have the judge void her marriage under the premise that
Texas does not recognize same sex marriage. The other woman is seeking
a divorce with all of the protections that come with a divorce, such as
property division and spousal support. The judge decreed that a ruling
concerning same sex marriage could not be made in a state that does not
recognize same sex marriage to begin with.
Texas Defense of Marriage Act
The basis of this decision is rooted in the Texas Defense of Marriage Act.
This act was signed into law in 2003, and specifies that Texas does not
recognize marriages or civil unions of those in same sex relationships.
The law became a constitutional amendment in 2005 when marriage was legally
defined as the union of one man and one woman. As a result, no political
or legal entity in the state is able to recognize any union that took
place between two people of the same gender.
The Texas ban of same sex marriage was declared unconstitutional in February
2014 but the laws remain in effect until the appeal has been completed.
In the eyes of the law, the couple remains married, meaning that they
are unable to enter into other marriages and must file joint tax returns.
In order to get a divorce in another state, the couple must move and establish
residency in another place.
If you or a loved one are in a same sex relationship in Texas and are unsure
how Texas laws affect your situation, contact a family law attorney before
making a change of relationship decision.