AUSTIN — The Texas Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday that state law requires marriages to be recognized before a divorce can be granted.
The Supreme Court took up the issue of gay marriage, considering whether the law allows same-sex divorce despite it not recognizing same-sex marriage.
The two cases involving two couples married in Massachusetts, Dallas couple H.B. and J.B. and Austin couple Angelique Naylor and Sabrina Daly, were consolidated for arguments.
The Dallas couple are still trying to get a divorce in the state. The case’s main issue deals with whether a trial court has jurisdiction over a same-sex divorce. The lesbian couple was granted a divorce in family court, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the decision.
Arguments for the couples focused on the validity of the marriage in another state, while highlighting that only the parties petitioning for a divorce, and not the state, have a right to contest it.
The state argued that the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was brought into the cases and judges who ruled in the cases previously. Therefore, the state was justified to intervene and defend state law, which doesn’t recognize the marriages for any purpose.
Jody Scheske, the attorney for the gay couples, argued that despite Texas not recognizing same-sex marriage, gay couples are marrying in other states where same-sex marriages are legal. If those couples later divorce, they must petition their state of residence for a divorce.