Gay divorce update: Arguments Wednesday in Dallas case; AG's office to appeal Austin ruling

Posted on 19 Apr 2010 at 11:46am

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Oral arguments are set for Wednesday afternoon in the Texas attorney general’s appeal of a gay divorce in Dallas, and attorney Pete Schulte said he’s expecting a media circus at the George Allen Courts Building. Schulte has stopped short of calling for an LGBT rally outside, but he does say he thinks the community should be prepared to respond in the event of anti-gay protesters. Also, TV cameras won’t be allowed inside the courtroom, so they’ll need something to film (hint, hint). The courthouse is at 600 Commerce St. in Dallas, and the oral arguments begin at 2 p.m. The courtroom is open to the public, but space is limited, so if you want to attend the actual proceedings you may want to arrive early. As if this case wasn’t already politically charged enough, Schulte reports that the 5th District Court of Appeals has granted 5 minutes during oral arguments to one of the two anti-gay state officials who recently filed a brief opposing the divorce, State Rep. Warren Chisum or Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. It’s unclear whether it will be Chisum or Staples making the arguments.

In other same-sex divorce news, Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has also decided to appeal a Travis County judge’s decision last month to grant a divorce to a lesbian couple. The district judge who granted the divorce had asked the AG’s office not to appeal the decision. The judge told the AG’s office that the Dallas case will decide the matter anyway and that continuing to fight the Austin case could have an adverse impact on a 4-year-old boy who was adopted by the couple. But apparently Abbott is less concerned about the welfare of the child than drumming up right-wing votes in November elections.

On Saturday in Austin, I got a chance to meet Angelique Naylor, one of the women who was granted the divorce in Travis County. Naylor, who participated in a panel during Equality Texas’ State of the State Policy Conference, told me that while the divorce case began as a way to legally end the couple’s relationship, it’s evolved into something more.

“Now I’m fired up and I want to do the right thing and make a stand,” Naylor said.

Naylor’s attorney, Jennifer Cochran, also participated in the panel on Saturday.

“He doesn’t like gay people for some reason,” Cochran said of Abbott.

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