TX Supreme Court to hear gay divorce cases

Angelique Naylor

Angelique Naylor stands near the Texas state capital in Austin in 2010. Naylor was granted a divorce from her and her wife’s Massachusetts marriage that same year, but the Texas Supreme Court will now hear the appeal challenging that the divorce violates the state’s constitutional marriage amendment.

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.

—  Dallasvoice

Another Texas district judge tells AG Greg Abbott to go stick it in a gay divorce case

Can you show me where in the Ten Commandments it says anything about gay divorce?
Can you show me where in the Ten Commandments it says anything about gay divorce?

As you may have heard, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott really likes sticking his nose in other people’s business. Last year Abbott tried to intervene in a same-sex divorce case in Dallas, and Judge Tena Callahan told him to go stick it somewhere else. Abbott, apparently a sore loser, has appealed Callahan’s decision to the 5th District Court of Appeals, which will hear oral arguments in April. In the meantime, an Austin district judge on Wednesday told Abbott essentially the same thing. From The Houston Chronicle:

Abbott’s deputies had argued in court filings that Angelique Naylor, 39, and Sabina Daly, 42, may not be legally granted a divorce because Texas law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Naylor and Daly were married in 2004 in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. They returned to their home in Austin after their marriage and adopted a son who is now 4.

During a hearing, state District Judge Scott Jenkins questioned Abbott’s decision to pursue the case, noting that his office is involved in same-sex divorce litigation in Dallas that is already on appeal. That case, Jenkins said, is positioned to provide legal precedent on the legality of gay divorce. He suggested that a delayed disposition in the Travis County case could affect Naylor and Daly’s son.

But do you really think Abbott cares about the impact his involvement could have on this 4-year-old boy? How much you wanna bet his office appeals this decision, too?

—  John Wright