Expert: One TX Gay Divorce Case Likely Won't Affect The Other

A judge in Austin says the state attorney general can 'not' intervene in a same-sex divorce case in Travis County. A Houston constitutional law expert believes the ruling, which lets the divorce stand, probably won't have much bearing on 'another' same-sex divorce case scheduled to be heard in a state appeals court later this month. David Pitman has more.

In February, State District Judge Scott Jenkins orally granted a divorce between two women who married in Massachusetts six years ago, then moved to Texas and adopted a son. 

This week, Judge Jenkins said that Attorney General Greg Abbott is too late to get involved in that case.  He also pointed out that Abbott is already appealing a divorce between two Dallas men.  That case is designed to settle the question of whether gay divorces can happen in a state where gay marriages aren't legally recognized.

South Texas College of Law Professor Charles "Rocky" Rhodes doesn't believe the ruling that affirms the lesbians' divorce will affect the outcome of the male divorce.

"Predominately because Judge Jenkins was really, I think, concerned with the timeliness of the attorney general's intervention... especially in a case where he felt he really needed to give closure to the parties so they could get on with their lives."

Rhodes says Judge Jenkins' ruling this week did not address any of the constitutional issues surrounding same-sex marriage, or divorce.  Those arguments, in the divorce of the male couple, will be made April 21st before the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas.  That case will likely end up before the Texas Supreme Court.

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David Pitman

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