Lesbian couple files for divorce in Bexar County

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A San Antonio couple has filed to dissolve their 2010 D.C. marriage.

The couple, Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh, filed for divorce on Feb. 18 after separating in July. Their case is the first divorce sought by a same-sex couple in Bexar County, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Eight days after they filed, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and its refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages is unconstitutional. But Garcia stayed his ruling pending appeal. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott later appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case may be put on hold until the Texas Supreme Court decides whether to allow same-sex couples to divorce in Texas. The court heard arguments for same-sex divorce in the state back in November, when lawyers for an Austin couple, who were granted a divorce, and a Dallas couple, who were still trying to obtain one, argued that the state didn’t need to recognize the marriages to dissolve the unions since the state where they were married already recognized their unions as legal.

The court has yet to rule in the cases, but a decision is expected by summer before the court’s recess.

But the San Antonio couple wants the case to move forward because they are also battling for custody of their 13-month-old daughter. Flood, who hasn’t seen the child in six months,  wants to share custody, while Lesh doesn’t because her wife isn’t the girl’s biological or adoptive parent. The Austin couple also has a child, but the case didn’t deal with custody.

“This illustrates what Judge Garcia identified as (what) same-sex couples are deprived of,” Neel Lane, one of the San Antonio lawyers for the gay couples who sued the state over the same-sex marriage ban, told the San Antonio Express-News. “First, they are deprived of the benefits of an orderly dissolution of a marriage. Second, their children are denied the benefit of the many laws to protect their interests in the event of a divorce.”

The couple has a hearing on Thursday.

—  Anna Waugh

Sara Gilbert splits from girlfriend

Sara Gilbert, the Emmy-nominated star of Roseanne and The Talk co-host, revealed to People magazine that she and her partner of a decade, Allison Adler, are splitting up. They have been together since 2001 and have two children together. It has been a bad week romance-wise for the the Gilbert family. Sara’s sister, Little House on the Prairie‘s Melissa Gilbert, filed for divorce from her husband, Bruce Boxleitner, on Thursday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

FAMILY LIFE: Together. Apart.

ZAYN HAS TWO MOMMIES | Despite their divorce, Denise, left, Hope and Zayn remain a family. (Arnold Wayne Jones/ Dallas Voice)

How one couple turned the drama of divorce into a nurturing environment for their son

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

After nine years together, Hope Rivera and Denise Jayroe came to a tough decision — a decision couples never want to be faced with. The two agreed not to be together anymore.

But this wasn’t just a separation. After getting officially married in Victoria, Canada six years into their relationship, this was a divorce. But they would say that this was not about them at all.

“There’s always drama and it wasn’t easy,” Jayroe said. “We could have stayed together and been unhappy or be split and be happy.”

“Once you get past the relationship ending, there’s a child there. That didn’t change when we separated,” Rivera added.

After Jayroe gave birth to Zayn almost five years ago, the couple planned for a second-parent adoption so Rivera could have legal parental responsibility. It may have bonded the relationship between the two women more solidly, but more importantly, it benefited their son.

The two strongly suggest this plan of action for same-sex couples having a child.

“That was the No. 1 thing I knew we needed to do and Hope wanted it, too,” Jayroe said. “It’s one of first things a gay couple should do. It helps protect relationships, but really, it protects Zayn. That adoption solidifies the responsibility, and so Hope is now also legally and financially responsible for him.”

Although things didn’t work out for the couple, they both are proud about how much they agree on almost everything — especially when it comes to Zayn. There are no snippy tales of what one does with him that annoys the other. In fact, the family is quite happy — just in a different fashion.

“We’ve split everything 50/50, but he knows that we are both his parents and that’s not going to change,” Rivera said. “Denise and I have a good sense of each other.

That made it easy to agree on how we were raising Zayn regarding his education, his sleep time, going to church, all that stuff.

“We may have different styles in parenting, but we’re consistent and he has a foundation to work from.”

They did have some help on the terms of their custody agreement from co-parenting counselor Carrie Beaird, president of Co-Parenting Solutions. Rivera and Jayroe credit her with stabilizing the plan they needed to raise Zayn as divorced parents.

“That helped us come to agreements on some things and it let us get anything and everything out in the open,” Rivera said.

What Rivera and Jayroe have done is changing the definition of family, as gay couples have been doing for a while. Instead of letting divorce rule as a detriment, they’ve created a successful, happy family — just in two different households.

“Being a child of divorce, I’m aware of how it affects a child,” Rivera said. “We didn’t plan to split up, obviously. But we did. It’s not that parents divorce, but how they handle it. He has two families now, and we do as much as we can to convey that sense of security.”

Even when there might be contentious issues between the two adults, they make a distinct effort to step back and refocus on Zayn. They never discuss the other parent in front of him or argue when he’s around. This is their reality.

“Hope is also the mother of my child and I’m careful in the communication I have with her and our relationship now,” Jayroe said. “The way I treat Hope and my life models to him that this is how you are a human being in this world.”

Knowing the situation could be far worse, Rivera and Jayroe have created and maintained a smooth and even happy system. Holidays and birthdays are split and vacations are still taken. They make it a point to live within five miles of each other just to be close, and both make all the functions they can at his Montessori school.

Their lives reflect something more than just making it work. Although redefining family, they both bring up what parenting means for same-sex couples and the rights that do and don’t come with that. Rivera and Jayroe have seemingly taken all the steps as lesbian parents to protect their child. They hope others do the same.

“I sit here and think we want equal rights, but some people don’t want to do this stuff for each other,” Rivera said. “It disturbs me when I hear how biological mothers can be with their children and use them as pawns. And I seem to see that happen more in our community. If we’re going to ask for equal rights, what are people doing to help or hinder that?”

Jayroe added, “Gay and lesbian couples are under a magnifying glass right now with the marriage issue on the forefront. My hope is that couples doing this and having to make this transition will focus on their children and strive to be a model family. Even in different houses.”

—  John Wright

Wyoming’s Gay Divorce War

GAY DIVORCE X390 (THINKSTOCK) | ADVOCATE.COMA same-sex divorce case pending before the Wyoming supreme court has a
group of lawmakers vying to get involved, while two measures
simultaneously seek to prevent recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the
state.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

Southern Conservative Christians Divorce More

So, now that we know via this study that conservative Christians in the deep south divorce more, what are we going to do, as a nation, to save the institution of marriage?

Divorce is more common among conservative Christians and young people, according to a recent study.

University of Iowa sociology professor Jennifer Glass presented her study on skyrocketing divorce rates in regions highly populated with conservative Christians to an overflowing crowd in Burdine Hall on Friday.

“Politically and religiously conservative states, especially in the Deep South, exhibit higher divorce rates than politically and religiously liberal states in the Northeast and Midwest,” Glass wrote in her study.

So, while conservative Christians claim their marriages are superior because “God is (supposedly) in the mix,” they are getting divorced at higher rates than their more progressive counterparts. Facts never get in the way of conservatives claiming their behavior is superior and that they are somehow the authority on, well, just about everything. It would be nice if actual informative facts from a study like this would end the debate with conservative Christians about gay marriage, but I’m not going to hold my breath. You see, they have faith their marriages are superior to gay marriages no matter how many times they’ve been divorced, and all logic and facts be damned.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Gay Divorce

TEXAS FLAG X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COMThe appellate court rules that Texas attorney general Greg Abbott cannot block the divorce of two women who married out-of-state. 
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Divorce of Lesbian Couple

Attorney General Greg Abbott does not have jurisdiction to appeal the divorce of a lesbian couple in Austin last year, a Texas state appeals court has ruled.

The Dallas Voice reports: Abbott

A Travis County district judge had granted the divorce to lesbian couple Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly last February. Naylor and Daly married in Massachusetts in 2004 before returning to Texas and adopting a child. Abbott’s office appealed their divorce, arguing that judges in Texas cannot grant same-sex divorces because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

Abbott won an appeal last year challenging another same-sex divorce in Dallas, where the 5th District Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.

Apparently the court ruled the way it did because the AG intervened after the divorce was granted, and neither party challenged the state constitution or Family Code.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Which Married Male Singer Is Going To Divorce And Go Public With His Already-Out Singing Boyfriend?

BLIND ITEMS — "I have written about this couple before, but apparently it is getting to the point where some kind of public announcement is coming. I don't remember how I described them in the past, but one is an openly gay male singer and the other is also male and a singer and is in a heterosexual marriage. Apparently, now that our married singer has ended his most recent tour, he is going to file divorce proceedings soon. He and the other singer are tired of living in the shadows and want to bring their relationship out in the open." [CDAN] (Note: Accompanying photos do not indicate any relationship to the report.)


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Queerty

—  admin

If not church/state, could ‘pro-fams’ at least divorce drive to win from right to raise questions?

On September 3, Rev. Cary K. Gordon of Sioux City, Iowa’s Cornerstone World Outreach sent the following letter to fellow pastors in his area:

(zoom in at bottom)



CWO Letter

The whole gist of Mr. Gordon’s letter — beyond linking his political opposition to Hitler, of course — is to encourage pastors to in turn encourage their congregants to vote against the Iowa judges who joined the unanimous decision that removed gender discrimination from the state’s marriage laws. And since Mr. Gordon’s church and all of the other churches to whom he sent the letter are receiving tax exempt status, this kind of activity raises undeniable questions regarding its lawfulness.

So that’s where Americans United for Separation of Church and State steps in. That group has filed a complaint with the IRS, asking that the matter be looked into further:

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said the church’s campaign is a clear violation of federal tax law.

“I don’t think I have ever seen a more outrageous effort to politicize churches,” said Lynn. “This deplorable scheme seeks to turn houses of worship into dens of inequity and intolerance. I call on the IRS to move swiftly to put a stop to this outrage.

“It’s bad enough that the leaders of this church are using donations from the collection plate to fund a hardball political operation,” Lynn continued. “It’s even more appalling that they are doing so in a bigoted attempt to deny civil rights to a targeted minority. This is downright shameful.”

Iowa Church’s Election Campaign Against State Supreme Court Justices Merits IRS Investigation [AUFSOC&S]

Which is a completely fair move, regardless of where one stands on marriage equality, the upcoming retention vote, church, Hitler comparisons, or any of the other matters at hand. Because the law is concrete. And if a church is violating tax code for *any reason*, citizens have the right, nay, responsibility to raise questions. And we’d say the same exact thing if it were a pro-equality church engaging in questionable election activity.

Well, leave it to the “pro-family” side to once again shirk responsibility, abandon the opportunity to objectively weigh information, and turn their side into the unquestionably innocent victim. This report comes from Focus on the Family:

(click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Iowa Pastor Menaced for Political Speech [FoTF]

And of course there’s no mention of Gordon’s harsh rhetoric. No mention of the genuine concerns at hand. No talk about all church’s responsibility to make sure they are in accordance with the law. Instead, they talk about the supposed “attacks” being wage against the church, with it all coming down to “praying hard” for the matter to play out favorably for the pastor (again, with no regard for the facts regarding tax law).

Now, will the IRS ultimately side with Americans United for Separation of Church and State? Well, we don’t know. We haven’t dug in far enough to weigh in on how we view the church’s compliance with the law. But the breadth of the case doesn’t matter in terms of our objections. Because the issue here is the right of citizen groups to raise questions, the responsibility for all of us to act in accordance with law, the ethics that churches must follow in order to obtain financial privileges, the need for this nation to maintain fair election practices, and the duty to sometimes drop the merits we see in a particular political fight and instead consider the elements that exist independent of the cause. We are more than willing to do just that. In fact, we insist on doing that. But our opposition never does, which is a major reason why this nation’s so-called “culture war” is such a hot mess of deceptive, dumbed down discourse!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Is Greg Abbott going to sit idly by while a federal court throws out Texas’ gay marriage ban?

Greg Abbott

Ten states have submitted a brief opposing same-sex marriage to the federal appeals court that will decide whether California’s Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution, The Associated Press reports. But guess what? Texas isn’t one of them.

Anti-gay Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s fought to prevent Texas courts from recognizing same-sex marriage even for the limited purpose of divorce, has failed to get involved in a case that could ultimately result in the state’s marriage ban being thrown out:

Former Utah Sen. Scott McCoy, the first openly gay state senator, said Saturday he is not surprised Utah signed on to the opposition brief. If the California ruling against Proposition 8 is upheld, it would follow that Utah’s Amendment 3, which defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional, he said.

Abbott’s failure to get involved is even more surprising given that the brief filed Friday specifically argues that states, and not federal courts, should determine whether to allow same-sex marriage. As you may know, Abbott is all about states’ rights and protecting us from Washington and the evil federal government. So what gives?

We’ve contacted spokesman Jerry Strickland to find out why the Texas AG’s office has chosen to sit this one out, but thus far no response. Stay tuned.

—  John Wright