It looks like the Texas Supreme Court will finally decide the fate of same-sex marriage in the Lone State State — at least for divorce purposes.
The high court recently requested additional briefs in the cases after the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage rulings in June to determine what impact those rulings should have on their petitions. Combined oral arguments for the cases were scheduled Friday morning for Nov. 5.
Both cases, involving a Dallas gay couple and an Austin lesbian couple, have been before the high court since 2011. Briefs had been requested before, but the court hadn’t decided whether to take the cases, but legal experts expected them to take after the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings.
Lesbian couple Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly were granted a divorce in Austin in 2010. Anti-gay Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened to challenge the divorce, but the appeals court ruled in 2011 that Abbott did not have standing. Abbott then appealed the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.
J.B. filed an uncontested petition for divorce from H.B. in Dallas County court four years ago to dissolve their 2006 Massachusetts marriage. But Abbott intervened to challenge the divorce petition, arguing that Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage also prohibits the state from granting gay divorces.
State District Judge Tena Callahan, a Dallas Democrat, later ruled in 2009 that not only could she hear J.B.’s petition but that the state’s marriage amendment is unconstitutional.
Abbott appealed to an all-Republican panel of the 5th District Court of Appeals reversed Callahan’s decision and ruled in Abbott’s favor in 2010. J.B. then appealed to state’s high court.