Attorneys for a gay Dallas couple that’s seeking a divorce are citing the recent Prop 8 ruling out of California — in which a federal judge declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional — to bolster their case.
James J. Scheske of Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld, one of the attorneys representing the gay couple, filed a letter brief Aug. 18 with Dallas’ 5th District Court of Appeals. The brief cites not only the Prop 8 ruling, but also two July rulings from Massachusetts in which a federal court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
“Since this case was submitted, there have been significant developments in the body of law relating to the constitutional infirmity of efforts to deprive lawfully-married same-sex couples of the same benefits, responsibilities, and protections afforded all other married couples,” Scheske wrote in the brief. “This court should take heed of these decisions, which vindicate the trial court’s holding in this case that laws depriving lawfully-married same-sex couples of the right to obtain a divorce are unconstitutional.”
Scheske represents J.B. and H.B., who married in Massachusetts and are seeking a divorce in Texas.
Democratic State District Judge Tena Callahan ruled last October that J.B. and H.B. can get divorced in Texas. But Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed Callahan’s decision, arguing that Texas cannot grant the divorce because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
A three-member panel of the state appeals court heard oral arguments in the case in April. There is no deadline for the justices to rule.
Click on the link to read the full brief: J.B.’s Letter Brief-r