Credit: Courtesy of T-Shirt Deli

Credit: Courtesy of T-Shirt Deli

According to the Texas Lawyer, a judge in Dallas has held that Texas’ constitutional ban violates the 14th Amendment.  Back in November 2005, voters approved the constitutional provision but the recent decision carves away at the ban.  Texas Constitutional Article 1, Section 32(a) which provides, “marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman” was held by Judge Tena Callahan to violate the 14th Amendment.  The particular case was a situation where the parties were legally married in another jurisdiction [one that presumably has permitted gay marriage] and were seeking to get divorced in Dallas County, Texas. 

With the ban on gay marriage in place, it would not be possible for the State of Texas to have recognized the gay couple had a valid marriage to begin with which is a necessary prerequisite to a divorce.  Here the Judge ruled “the [Texas] Court had jurisdiction to divorce parties who have been legally married in another jurisdiction and who meet the residency and other prerequisites required to file for divorce.” 

I would imagine an appeal would be underway and would not be surprised to see this issue taken to the State Supreme Court.  The reality is some couples who have registered as domestic partners or have participated in a valid gay marriage may be faced with tough choices if they had to move to a state that did not recognize either.  This area of the law is continually developing.   California of course recognizes domestic partnerships and the legal battle continues as to whether denying gay marriage here violates the Equal Protection Clause of the State Constitution. 

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