constitutional amendment

Judge allows same-sex couple to divorce

While more states have legalized same-sex marriages, gay couples whose marriages have fallen on hard times continue to find it difficult to legally divorce their spouse. The problem is that some states feel by permitting a same-sex divorce, they are by default acknowledging same-sex marriage. For example, two women who were married in Massachusetts later moved to Texas, a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. When the women began divorce proceedings in February 2011, Texas’ general attorney, attempted to stop the judge from allowing their dissolution. His motion stated that because Texas has a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the judge did not have the authority to grant a divorce. The motion was later thrown out by the judge because it was not filed in a timely manner. In a more recent case, two men who were married in New York on September 2011, filed for divorce in Ohio. Ohio, like Texas, does not recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions per a 2004 constitutional amendment. A Columbus judge signed off on the couple’s divorce. Again, the judge hearing the men’s case was met with an onslaught of criticism — called “rogue” by one man in an email to the Columbus Dispatch, a local newspaper. The attorney for one of the men in the case defended the judge’s decision to hear and approve the divorce; stating that Ohio’s constitutional amendment applies only to same-sex marriage and says nothing about same-sex divorce. Ultimately, the real hurdle lies in the fact that

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No divorce marriage: Gay couples challenge Texas divorce law

What defines “marriage”? The Texas Supreme Court has to evaluate that very question. They are charged with the task of deciding whether they ought to continue defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In essence, theirs is the task of deciding whether or not gay marriage ought to be legal in that state. Currently, two cases involving same-sex couples who married in Massachusetts and filed for divorce in Texas are before the courts. Because gay marriage is illegal in Texas, it is also illegal to divorce a same-sex couple in that state. Texas courts can declare the marriage void, but they cannot grant a divorce — at least not yet. The two couples married in Massachusetts are pushing for change in Texas. However, for a gay divorce to be granted, the state would have to recognize that the marriage was valid in the first place. In 2005, a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman was approved by 76 percent of Texas voters. The Texas Family Code also similarly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Because of those definitions, Texas courts can only grant divorces in cases where the marriage fits into those parameters. Therefore, same-sex couples do not qualify either for marriages or divorces. Same-sex couples’ rights have been a hot topic across the United States in recent years. It is a polarizing issue that has caused heated debate. Laws are not static;

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