In a 5-3 decision released this morning (Friday, June 19) the Texas Supreme Court agreed with an appeals court the state had no vested interest in a case affecting an Austin lesbian couple seeking divorce.
Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly wed in 2004. Naylor, who had a child and ran a business with Daly, filed for divorce in Travis County in 2010. The couple had already settled many issues out of court. But to address remaining legal issues, they sought an appeals court judgment addressing various under their divorce.
However Gov. Greg Abbott, then state attorney general, argued because Texas not acknowledge same-sex marriages, the divorce was therefore nullified. Despite the last ditch efforts, the court declined to acknowledge the state’s appeal.
Abbott, in a statement called the ruling disappointing and even a mistake.
“The Court mistakenly relied on a technicality to allow this divorce to proceed. Importantly, the Court did not address the Texas Constitution’s definition of marriage,” he said. “The Texas Constitution continues to stand as the governing law for marriage in the State of Texas. The State and all political subdivisions in Texas remain prohibited by the Texas Constitution from giving effect to a same-sex marriage or any document recognizing one—including the divorce decree in this case.”
The ruling has no impact on the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. That decision was stayed and that case is awaiting an opinion before the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.