The Lone Star State is about to experience its first same-sex court decision on divorce. It was just a matter of time.
Currently, Texas does not recognize same-sex unions, thereby forcing gay and lesbian couples who seek divorce to “void” their marriage. One spouse in a couple from Tarrant County is contesting that law as the case makes its way to divorce court.
Four years ago, the lesbian couple got married in New Hampshire. Now, as the glow on the romance has faded, they are looking to untie the knot in their state of residence. One of the spouses claims it is not in her best interest to void or annul their union.
Both individuals are from Texas but had to wed out of state due to the ban on same-sex marriage. Although they have been separated for months, the state will not recognize their divorce. A heterosexual couple can pursue the dissolution of their marriage in as quickly as three months, but same-sex couples are not permitted that right.
Voiding a marriage implies a spouse does not have federal or state rights to property or benefits. One legal spokesperson has explained this includes Social Security and other retirement pensions. Texas says their marriage never took place, and the state’s attorney general has publicly opposed same sex-divorce, claiming this would validate a same-sex union.
While one spouse is disputing this option, the other seems to be comfortable with the limitation as she has accepted the Texan law. She says this is her home, and she will just accept the decision.
As the Texas Supreme Court grapples with other same-sex divorce cases, one spouse in the above case pushes on hoping her voice will be heard. She feels her marital status is part of who she is, and she deserves that recognition. If you are in a similar situation in the state of Texas, you have the same right to be heard. Conferring with a sympathetic person or persons, who can advise you on the law, is in your best interest. You should have the right to love and divorce the person of your choosing.
Source: DFW CBS Local, “1st Same Sex Divorce Case Headed To North Texas Court” Jennifer Lindgren, May. 15, 2014