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Texas Rulings on Same-Sex Marriages

As same-sex marriage moves into the national spotlight during presidential campaigns, you may be curious to know how Texas courts view same-sex marriage.

Under the Texas Family Code, same-sex marriages are not legal. However, the issue has come up for review before the Texas judiciary various times:

  • In 2010, The Statesman reported that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened in a same-sex divorce case in Travis County and presented the argument that the two women who had married in another state could not divorce in Texas. He argued that the Texas law defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and for this reason their relationship was not a marriage. He indicated that the court had no legal authority to grant a divorce and the State must intervene to defend the Texas Constitution. However, the couple could achieve legal voidance in Texas because same-sex marriages are void marriages in Texas.
  • In an article released by the Jurist, a publication supported by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas ruled in September 2010 that the Texas ban on same-sex marriage is not a U.S. Constitution violation. It ruled that Texas courts do not have to hear divorces for same-sex couples married in other states. Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages and declares them void under the Texas Family Code.
  • This Fifth District of Texas Court of Appeals’ ruling overturned an earlier ruling from 2009 that addressed same sex marriage. The 302nd Family District Court in Texas ruled that it had the right of jurisdiction over same-sex divorces and that the Texas same-sex marriage ban had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

There is a case currently going before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples and clarify a state’s rights to define marriage.

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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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